Financial tracking lapses identified within Department of Legal Affairs

by | Dec 19, 2023



  • An operational audit published this month identified management issues within the Florida Department of Legal Affairs, particularly in handling the requirements of the Florida Single Audit Act (FSAA).
  • Key areas of concern include failures in tracking financial report deadlines and maintaining necessary documentation.
  • Departments within the agency were found to lack formal systems to monitor financial reporting package (FRP) due dates, resulting in delays in reviews ranging from four to 21 months. In some cases, records of receipt or review of FRPs were entirely missing.

An operational audit of the Florida Department of Legal Affairs published this month identified management lapses within the agency, particularly concerning the handling of the Florida Single Audit Act (FSAA) requirements.

The audit examined eight recipients and found that the Department’s Division of Victim Services (DVS) and the Bureau of General Services (BGS) failed to keep track of pertinent financial report deadlines and documentation, with some reports not being reviewed for as long as 21 months. The audit attributes the oversight to staff changes, high workload in the Division, and staff turnover in the Bureau.

“Our audit procedures found that, although the Department had established or adopted policies and procedures for the administration of the requirements of the FSAA, Division and Bureau personnel did not consistently adhere to applicable requirements,” the report reads.

Both the DVS and the BGS’ failure to adequately track financial records contravened the FSAA, the audit asserts, as neither agency had a formal system or procedure in place to monitor the due dates of FRPs.

Audit findings indicate that the DVS did not have records for the receipt or review of one FRP and was late in reviewing four others, with delays ranging from four to 21 months, while the review date for another FRP was also unrecorded. Following the findings, the audit reports that DVS management were unaware that FRPS needed to be tracked.

Similarly, the Bureau of General Service’s records showed no evidence of receiving or reviewing five of their eight FRPs. For the remaining three FRPs, while copies existed, there was no documentation of their receipt or review dates.

The FSAA mandates that non-state entities receiving State Financial Assistance (SFA) over $750,000 in a fiscal year must undergo independent audits and submit Financial Reporting Packages (FRPs). According to agency records, the Department of Legal Affairs provided SFA totaling $41,310,056 during the period July 2018 through June 2020 to 44 non-State recipients.

“Neither the Division nor the Bureau maintained a log or otherwise tracked FRP due dates to ensure that FRPs were timely requested and received from recipients, the audit states. “In response to our audit inquiry, Division management indicated that they were unaware of the need to track FRPs.”

The Audit General recommended that DVS management enhance FSAA oversight policies, procedures, and processes to ensure that FRPs are timely obtained from all non-State entities required to submit an FRP, they are subsequently timely and appropriately reviewed, and any identified instances of recipient noncompliance or other deficiencies are promptly followed up on and resolved.

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