Performance Audits

The California State Auditor conducts performance audits that are either mandated by statute or requested by the Legislature. Performance auditing is the systematic and objective examination of evidence to provide an independent assessment of the performance and management of an organization or activity against objective criteria as well as assessments that provide a prospective focus or create best practices. Performance audits provide information to improve operations and facilitate decision making by parties with responsibility to oversee or initiate corrective action and improve public accountability. These audits cover a wide variety of objectives, including objectives related to providing perspective, analysis, guidance, or summary information or in assessing:

Program effectiveness and results, and economy and efficiency

Examples of these audits include:

  • The extent to which legislative, regulatory, or organizational goals and objectives are being achieved.
  • The extent to which programs duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other related programs.
  • The relative cost and benefits or cost effectiveness of program performance.
  • The reliability, validity, and relevance of financial information related to the performance of a program.

Internal control

These assessments relate to management's plans, methods, and procedures used to meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Examples of these audits include providing reasonable assurance that:

  • Organizational mission, goals, and objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently.
  • Resources are used in compliance with laws, regulations, or other requirements.
  • Resources are safeguarded against unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition.
  • Management information and public reports are complete, accurate, and consistent to measure performance and support decision making.
  • Security over computerized information systems will prevent or timely detect unauthorized access.
  • Contingency planning for information systems provides essential back up and recovery.

Compliance with legal or other requirements

These assessments relate to compliance criteria established by laws, regulations, contract provisions, leases, and grant agreements.

Other types of reviews

These assessments pertain to work that provides a prospective focus, guidance, or best practices including:

  • Assessing advantages or disadvantages of legislative proposals.
  • Analyzing budget proposals or budget requests and identifying best practices in program or management system approaches.
  • Producing high-level summaries or reports that affect multiple programs or entities on issues studied.