Sunday, July 27, 2008

Auditing Chief Scott's OCSD's Audit

Auditing Chief Scott's OCSD's Audit

July 27, 2008

When we asked Sheriff Hutchens for a copy of the 100-Day plan she would use to get the ball rolling at the OCSD, we got a not so SMART "120-Day Plan", which we characterize at best as "a plan-for-the-plan".
Our curiosity peaked when we first learned that Chief Scott was going to be helping Sheriff Hutchens on what seemed to be a sweeping number of issues including:

1. Coordination of a standard audit where he is to review overall operations at each facility, with shift by shift evaluations and recommendations on how to improve daily operations

* Specific
* Measurable
* Attainable
* Realistic
* Time bound

SMART Plan OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

2. Comprehensive review of jail policies and procedures and preparation of recommendations for improvement
3. Hire-Fire Staff review
4. Cost benefit analysis to evaluate the functionality, appropriateness and efficiency of the three existing classifications of jail staff
5. Help develop strategic planning information to be used by OCSD to implement recommendations derived from the audits

To make sure we understand the scope of Chief Scott's assignment at the OCSD, we forwarded a number of questions to the Sheriff's office, summarized below. After repeated attempts to contact the OCSD's office, we finally got an obviously terse acknowledgement saying in essence: "we got your request, don't call us..."

Auditing the Auditor - Questions forwarded to the Sheriff's Office:
1. In the Chief's coordination of a standard audit where he is to review overall operations at each facility, with shift by shift evaluations and recommendations on how to improve daily operations, is there a standard audit template the Chief will be using?

See for example a template for business efficiency audit

Is the Chief planning on using generic or standard benchmarking? If standard, which organization(s) has he selected to benchmark against? - We hear the LASD suffers from similar issues....

2. In Chief Scott comprehensive review of jail policies and procedures and preparation of recommendations for improvement, is this a paper review? Otherwise, aforementioned benchmarking questions apply. Pertaining to the review of existing policies from a security standpoint, is there current data to let the Chief know "who the enemy is", in order to avoid building a $1,000 fence for a $1.00 horse, for instance, or remember the alleged "hidden camera's" in Sheriff Carona's office?

See for example an information technology audit template, and a security audit template:

3. In the Chief's Staff review to determine if changes in selection and training of custody staff are required, what criteria is the Chief going to use? Do you expect the AOCSD to push back? - remember the BMA criteria used to get to the magic Number 9?

4. In the Chief's cost benefit analysis to evaluate the functionality, appropriateness and efficiency of the three existing classifications of jail staff, Deputies, Sheriff's Special Officers and Corrections Services Technician, and determine whether a fourth category is required, is the Chief planning on using generic or standard benchmarking? If standard, which organization(s) has he selected to benchmark against?

See for example Blackwater - Blackwater claims to efficiently and effectively integrates a wide range of resources and core competencies to provide unique and timely solutions that exceed our customers' stated needs and expectations. We have contacted the Blackwater media department, but no response to date.

5. Which end is up? We are confused with the stated "final function of Chief Scotts' service will be to help develop strategic planning information to be used by OCSD to implement recommendations derived from the audits" - appears to be a circular reference:

Usually the strategic direction is set from the vision/mission statement. Chief Scott's assignment in this case implies that the Chief's work must eb complete, before the Sheriff can articulate a vision for the department.

6. Given that transformation is at the top of the list, we do not see how the Chief's audit addresses the OCSD culture/subcultures: Observable symbols and signs of an organization's culture include organizational stories and legends, rituals and ceremonies, language, physical structures and symbols. For example, in secret grand jury testimony, an Orange County sheriff's detective described the OCSD as a frat- house culture (see OC Register article) in the department, yet most employees remained silent. Will the audit be looking at subcultures as in the AOCSD and the Information Systems departments? What is the criteria used to articulate the culture and associated changes, if any changes are required?


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