There really weren’t any forward-looking ones, at least not upfront. They had some generic elements under governance, but that was it.
What the REAL criterion should have had
It is pretty simple — is there a plan in place going forward that addresses major issues, is risk-based, and is written down. There are lots of bells and whistles beyond that, things like cost and timelines, but the most basic element is “Do they have a plan?” » Read the rest
When I read the Office of the Auditor General’s audit of Phoenix, I was beyond disappointed (A disappointing audit of the Phoenix problems). In part, I think it is because I am too familiar with audits from my previous job where I read just about every audit done by my department in the last nine years, plus some of the broader OAG ones. Yep, I’m a public admin geek. I was even somewhat amused when I saw the news coverage about how aggressive the report was in its condemnation. And, if you weren’t a regular reviewer of audits, you might just go with the press conference and some of the findings and think, “Okay, they’re being appropriately harsh”.
Except the OAG knows how to be harsh when something isn’t working, and the language they would use for that kind of screw-up wasn’t present in the report. So let’s look at the report and see what they COULD (or even should?) » Read the rest
As a civil servant, I was incredibly disappointed with the recent Phoenix audit, although maybe I just expected too much of it. Things that should have been clearly there, I would have thought, were in fact absent. Wording that I expected to be extremely harsh was toned down. Recommendations that would seem to be obvious ways forward were missing in action.
A friend asked me earlier this week where my indignant anger was at the fiasco and I think part of my passivity was because I knew the audit was coming. And I expected it to be a bombshell…a true blockbuster for its impact. Based on the actual wording, it seems more like they were going for a children’s firecracker that fizzled.
I expect three things from an audit:
A clear articulation of the project’s goal and what they were trying to do;
A clear indication of assessment/analysis of performance based on evaluation against an objective standard; and,
Clear indications of recommendations for a way forward and response by the organization how they’re going to address the recommendations.
I wrote earlier on Phoenix and attempted to deconstruct the mess that it has become, although perhaps it is more apt to say the mess it was from the beginning and remains so even now. My focus was on the process, and some people asked me about an apparent lack of sensitivity or where my anger was for the disaster on the victims’ behalf. I’ll defer my anger to my next post, as it goes in a slightly different direction than most.
But let’s address a couple of those sympathy concerns.
First, am I cold, heartless, unsympathetic? Not really, but I am capable of writing about it in a dispassionate tone. Partly because it’s public administration and anything less dissolves into rhetoric. And partly as I view public issues like this almost like a battlefield of wounded. And you have to triage the victims somehow, see who you need to stabilize quickly while prioritizing the serious cases to the head of the line. » Read the rest