What We Do We Make Change Happen
Our work is independent, nonpartisan, and based on the facts and data we collect. We develop recommendations based on our analysis to improve government services for Californians.
As part of performance/policy evaluations—also known as performance audits—we collect evidence and find the truth. We use that truth to craft recommendations so that those in power can best serve the people they represent.
Performance/policy evaluations involve systematically comparing what should be happening to what is happening. They are objective, independent, nonpartisan, and based on evidence. We ultimately determine whether government agencies are efficient, effective, fulfilling their missions, and complying with the law. Our office is also responsible for audits that are mandated by state law, such as our annual review of the state judicial system.
Our data analysts clean, slice, and visualize large datasets that pave the way for our auditors, the Legislature, and the public to identify and address problems.
We perform first-of-their-kind analyses by combining datasets across state agencies to answer important questions. Our office can quickly clean and synthesize data to point policymakers in the right direction when addressing problems facing Californians. We publish the data we collect to help the public and their representatives understand what is happening on the ground.
Financial & Compliance Audits
With billions of dollars in federal funding on the line, determining if California's financial statements are presented fairly is critical work. Each year, our staff ensures that California can receive funding that supports infrastructure, schools, and other public services by conducting our annual audit of the State's financial statements.
This audit—known as the Single Audit—is among the largest in the world and encompasses the evaluation of California's financial statements, financial reporting safeguards, and compliance with laws, rules, and requirements. It satisfies the federal requirements for an independent financial audit and reviews the State's compliance with federal program requirements.
State High-Risk Program
State law authorizes our office to develop a state high-risk audit program. We use this program to investigate statewide issues and improve the operation of state government by identifying, auditing, and recommending improvements. We target issues and programs at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. We also audit programs experiencing major challenges associated with their economy, efficiency, or effectiveness.
Local Government High-Risk Program
We evaluate city government finances to assess the ongoing fiscal health of California's more than 470 cities. We analyze and rank cities using financial indicators to inform the public about whether their cities are facing fiscal challenges, and we summarize our analysis on an accessible dashboard. If approved by the Legislature, our team then audits the highest-risk cities to provide recommendations that will help them improve their budgeting and governance.
If state agencies or employees are acting improperly, our team investigates them and develops reports to hold them accountable. Under the California Whistleblower Protection Act, we determine whether allegations of improper governmental activities are true and follow up to make sure they implement our recommendations for corrective action.
We conduct investigations in response to complaints received from state employees, members of the public, or on our own initiative. We receive complaints by telephone, mail, fax, and through this website. Complainants have a right to remain confidential. Typically, we receive more than 4,000 complaints each year.