Report 2017-030 Recommendation 7 Responses

Report 2017-030: The State Bar of California: It Needs Additional Revisions to Its Expense Policies to Ensure That It Uses Funds Prudently (Release Date: June 2017)

Recommendation #7 To: Bar of California, State

To assign purchasing cards only to appropriate staff, ensure that the State Bar's records of employees' credit limits reflect those established with the bank, and to verify that staff use purchasing cards only for allowable and necessary expenses, the State Bar should immediately restrict the use of purchasing cards to its original purpose, which was for low-dollar and frequently occurring purchases. For purchases above $5,000, the State Bar should require the vendor to bill for payment.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2018

With the separation of the Sections effective January 2018, off-site meeting space is used only for the Bar Exam; some charges related to the Bar Exam are more efficiently handled by credit card. Similarly, catering charges for onsite meetings must usually be reserved and paid by credit card.

  • Completion Date: May 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

State Bar's revised policies provide increased controls of credit limits more than $5,000. However, State Bar policy 6.02 still allows staff to use the purchasing card for "meeting rooms and related catering services" and not bill vendors for payment for these purchases, which is the same issue that we had during the audit.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

New purchasing card policies have been implemented, and are included in Section 6.0 of the State Bar's Procurement Manual as of 2/5/2018.

  • Completion Date: May 2018
  • Response Date: June 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

State Bar's revised policies provide increased controls of credit limits more than $5,000. However, State Bar policy 6.02 still allows staff to use the purchasing card for "Meeting rooms and related catering services" and not bill vendors for payment for these purchases, which is the same issue that we had during the audit.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

6-Month Agency Response

The State Bar is reviewing its purchasing card policies and will, by January 2018, limit purchasing card purchases of $5,000 or more to a more restricted set of expense categories, likely related to facilities and other support operations.

  • Estimated Completion Date: January 2018
  • Response Date: December 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The State Bar provides minimal explanation of the actions it is taking. We look forward to the State Bar providing a more complete description of its actions to implement our recommendations, as well as evidence of those actions, at its one-year response in June 2018.


60-Day Agency Response

The State Bar is reviewing its purchasing card policies and will, by January 2018, limit purchasing card purchases of $5,000 or more to a more restricted set of expense categories, likely related to facilities and other support operations.

  • Estimated Completion Date: January 2018
  • Response Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2017-030

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.