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California State Auditor Report Number: 2015-302

Judicial Branch Procurement
Although the Judicial Council Needs to Strengthen Controls Over Its Information Systems, Its Procurement Practices Generally Comply With Applicable Requirements

December 10, 20152015-302

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As required by California Public Contract Code, Section 19210, the California State Auditor (state auditor) presents this audit report concerning the procurement policies and practices of the Judicial Council of California (Judicial Council). The California Public Contract Code generally governs how state entities should enter into contracts and acquire goods and services. Enacted in 2011, the California Judicial Branch Contract Law (judicial contract law) requires judicial branch entities to follow procurement and contracting policies that are consistent with the California Public Contract Code and substantially similar to the provisions contained in the State Administrative Manual and the State Contracting Manual. In addition, judicial contract law requires the Judicial Council to adopt and adhere to the Judicial Branch Contracting Manual (judicial contracting manual), and to submit semiannual reports to the Legislature and state auditor itemizing most of its contracting activities.

This report concludes that the Judicial Council is generally complying with the judicial contract law and has corrected nearly all of the problems with its procurement and payment practices that we identified in our audit report published in December 2013. In our previous report we found that the Judicial Council did not always competitively bid contracts as required, correctly score vendor bids, or document its reasons for using a non‑competitive procurement process. For this audit we reviewed 60 procurements and found that in each instance the Judicial Council followed relevant procurement requirements. We also found that accounting staff correctly followed the Judicial Council’s payment process for the 60 payments we reviewed. Judicial Council staff are in the process of correcting one deficiency we found: the judicial contracting manual does not include required standards related to the minimum fuel economy of purchased vehicles.

In contrast to the progress it has made in its procurement policies and practices, the Judicial Council has not fully implemented the controls required to address the pervasive weaknesses we identified in the general controls over its information systems. The two information systems whose general controls we reviewed contain data that the Judicial Council uses for its day‑to‑day operations, and for creating the semiannual reports. The weaknesses we identified continue to compromise the security and availability of these information systems.

Respectfully submitted,

State Auditor

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