To ensure that EDD efficiently acts to take advantage of future collection opportunities, we recommend EDD institute a routine process for staff to identify and thoroughly evaluate ideas for improving EDD's ability to collect overpayments. This process should require staff to bring promising ideas to the attention of EDD's senior management so it can give prompt, informed consideration to these ideas and document in detail the substance of that consideration.
EDD reported that since our initial report, it has improved its structured process, which is called the business results planning process. As part of the process, it now includes staff suggestions as a standing agenda item in the monthly staff meetings. In addition, EDD reported that it has identified, evaluated, and implemented several improvements, including a staff recommendation to increase cross-training and job shadowing. It further reported that its collection division staff has brought forward seven new ideas that are being evaluated or are pending implementation.
EDD also reported that in its Winter 2014 employee newsletter, it promoted to its employees the State Merit Award program, which provides financial incentive for employees to submit ideas for improving state operations. In February 2015, EDD's director reminded employees of the Improve EDD program, which provides a dedicated email address for employees to submit ideas, suggestions, and solutions. EDD highlighted this program in a special edition of the employee newsletter, including the requirement that EDD branches report to the director every 30 days until each suggestion has been addressed.
EDD's subsequent responses have not included any updated information regarding this recommendation.
EDD stated that since 2000, its collections division has had a structured process in place to solicit ideas from staff about how to improve efficiency and increase revenue opportunities. This process includes a monthly meeting between staff and managers where the participants share information and discuss operational changes. In the meetings, managers encourage staff to provide input and make suggestions. The managers then share these ideas with senior-level management for consideration and implementation.
However, this process was in place between 2010 and 2012, when some EDD employees openly favored participating in the expanded Offset Program to collect unemployment benefit overpayments, and senior-level management paid little or no attention to this opportunity. We therefore are left to conclude that this process is not effective in helping EDD to take advantage of new collection opportunities. EDD therefore must make improvements to its process to implement our recommendation fully.