2022 Audit Plan Will Examine Key Issues in the Community

Published on October 18, 2021

2022 Audit Plan

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DENVER – Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, released his 2022 Audit Plan, which includes planned audits of the city’s response to homeless encampments, residential permitting and affordable housing.

“While a variety of factors impact which audits we add to the plan, this year’s list is exceptionally responsive to community input,” Auditor O’Brien said. “Our residents are letting us know what’s most important to them, and I applaud the widespread interest in our city’s key issues.”

Over the past year, many members of the community, city leaders, members of City Council and others have all shared concerns about how the city manages its response to encampments of people experiencing homelessness.

As a result, we assessed the two audits we had planned related to the city’s homeless services and determined an encampments audit needed to be moved onto our priority list. Community members will still see our previously planned audit of the city’s shelter services, but the addition of this second audit will bring the office’s plans more in line with community priorities.

Other key audits on the 2022 Audit Plan include:

  • How the Department of Housing Stability uses its funding to effectively and efficiently manage affordable housing projects.
  • Mental health services in Denver’s jails and a possible assessment of continued support following release from the jail system.
  • The city’s permitting process for residential dwellings.
  • Airport construction.
  • Continued assessments of contract compliance, cybersecurity, and construction projects.

The Auditor is required by Denver Charter to publish an Audit Plan for the year ahead by the third Monday in October every year. The Audit Plan is flexible — allowing for change and for audits that may carry over from year to year, such as our planned audit of diversity, equity, and inclusion in city agencies.

“The audit process is not quick,” Auditor O’Brien said. “We take the time needed to do our due diligence and fact-checking, while adhering to generally accepted government auditing standards as required by the charter. This is how the public knows our work is of the highest quality and can be trusted.”

As a certified public accountant, Auditor O’Brien is bound by a code of ethics and professional standards. The Auditor and his audit staff are also charged with using generally accepted government auditing standards in conducting audit work. In determining the Audit Plan, Auditor O’Brien brings the obligations of his professional license and city laws, as well as the voters’ trust.

Equity is a priority consideration in every audit we do. One of our first steps in the audit process is to consider the risk for inequity in the agencies, programs, and systems we examine. This is also in accordance with the charter-mandated auditing standards, which specify that management of public resources should be done efficiently, effectively, and equitably.

“I often tell people I meet at community meetings: If you know of a concern in your community, please let us know,” Auditor O’Brien said. “While I can’t assign audit resources to every complaint email we receive, when we hear the same concerns repeated by many members of the community, that’s a strong indicator that the topic should be higher on our priority list.”

The independent audit function serves as an essential measure for accountability, good government, and transparency. In determining what to audit, our office uses a formal risk assessment.

Common risk factors we consider include: significant changes in the city, the time since the last audit of an agency, the size of an agency or program, whether any previous recommendations weren’t implemented, matters of equity and fiscal sustainability, the complexity of transactions and processes, and the criticality of infrastructure.

We use a combination of performance, financial, information technology, cybersecurity, contract compliance, and audit analytics techniques as part of our integrated auditing process.

Because of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, in 2021, our office saw the need for flexibility in working through our Audit Plan and in working with city agencies. Due to significant changes throughout the City of Denver in staffing, available resources, and new ways of doing business, we added some audits to our plan and moved others into the future.

Although the ultimate decision to do any audit is at the sole discretion of the Auditor, the 2022 Audit Plan was completed with input from other city leaders including Mayor Michael Hancock and City Council members, as well as information from previous audits, input from community members, and feedback from agency management.

“Our recommendations are intended to provide a path for city agencies to enhance their effectiveness and reduce the city’s risk,” Auditor O’Brien said. “When agencies take our work seriously and make expeditious changes, everyone wins.”

Click through our complete list of audits for 2022 and read more on our website about how we do our work and how we select audits.


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