Audit Division

Audit Summary


Department of Human Resources

Office of State Public Defender

Report LA00-21


Results in Brief

            The Office’s system for collecting and reporting information needs improvement.  This system does not ensure case management information is reported in accordance with statutes and regulations.  As a result, reports submitted to the Legislative Commission and participating counties were not always complete or timely.  In part, these problems can be attributed to different reporting requirements between statutes and regulations.  Furthermore, the Office continues to use an outdated and labor-intensive system to compile this information.

            Although the Office has developed a system of internal accounting controls as required by statute, we noted two areas where control procedures can be improved.  First, key duties related to cash had not been separated to the extent possible.  Second, the Office needs to evaluate its out-of-state travel procedures to ensure expenditures are properly accounted for.


Principal Finding

·                    The Office has not established effective controls to ensure compliance with reporting requirements established in laws and regulations.  As a result, proposed budget reports submitted to participating counties lacked required information and were not submitted by the required due date.  In addition, attorneys representing indigent clients did not submit required information to the Office.  Finally, the annual report submitted to the Legislative Commission did not contain the correct reporting period.  (page 6)

·                    In our last audit of the Office, we identified that inconsistent reporting requirements contributed to incomplete and untimely reports.  As a result, we recommended the Office seek legislative action to standardize reporting requirements.  Although some statutory changes occurred, these amendments did not significantly revise reporting requirements.  (page 7)

·                    The process of compiling information for statutory reporting requirements is inefficient.  The Office continues to use a manual system that requires significant staff resources to develop the annual statistical reports.  NRS 353A requires agencies to develop effective controls to promote efficient operations and encourage adherence to laws and regulations.  (page 8)

·                    The Office had not adequately separated the duties of billing, collecting, and recording revenue.  In fiscal year 1999, one individual billed, logged, and recorded payments from counties.  Although all revenues were accounted for, key duties should be separated to the extent possible since county payments totaled nearly $700,000.  (page 9)

·                    Staff travel out of the state to interview witnesses and gather other case-related evidence.  The Office does not have budgetary authority for out-of-state travel; therefore, the counties pay these costs.  Consequently, out-of-state expenditures are not reflected in the Office’s budget.  The Office needs to evaluate its out-of-state travel procedures to ensure investigative expenditures are properly accounted for.  (page 9)

Department of Human Resources

Office of State Public Defender

Agency Response

to Audit Recommendations










Develop control procedures to help ensure compliance with reporting requirements





Review reporting requirements to ensure required information relevant and timely for all interested parties.  If not, seek legislative action to revise requirements






Automate the information system to obtain the benefits of technology





Ensure staff receive sufficient training to operate the information system





Separate cash collection duties to the extent possible




Review the out-of-state travel procedures with the courts, counties, and Budget and Planning Division to determine the most appropriate method to account these expenditures