Report 2009-108 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2009-108: California Department of Veterans Affairs: Although It Has Begun to Increase Its Outreach Efforts and to Coordinate With Other Entities, It Needs to Improve Its Strategic Planning Process, and Its CalVet Home Loan Program Is Not Designed to Address the Housing Needs of Some Veterans (Release Date: October 2009)

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Recommendations to Veterans Affairs, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that it has the information necessary to track progress in increasing veterans' participation in C&P benefits, and to identify where and how best to focus its outreach and coordination efforts, Veterans Services should require the CVSOs to submit information on the number of claims filed for C&P benefits and information on their outreach activities.

Fully Implemented
2

As Veterans Services expands its efforts to increase veterans' participation in C&P benefits, it should use veterans' demographic information, such as that available through the U.S. Census Bureau, and the information it plans to obtain from the CVSOs using its SAIM system, to focus its outreach and coordination efforts on those counties with the highest potential for increasing the State's rate of participation in C&P benefits.

Fully Implemented
3

Veterans Services should continue its efforts to pursue the SAIM system to enable it to monitor the quantity and quality of claims processed by the CVSOs, and ensure it meets legal requirements regarding auditing CVSO workload reports and verifying the appropriateness of college fee waivers. To the extent that Veterans Services is unsuccessful in implementing the SAIM system, the department will need to develop other avenues by which to meet its legal requirements.

Fully Implemented
4

In order to attract more veterans to the CalVet program, the department should continue working with the Federal Housing Administration and the Ginnie Mae to lower its interest rates on loans.

Fully Implemented
5

To ensure that Mental Health Services Act funding is used for the purposes intended in its formal agreement with the Department of Mental Health, the department should, before awarding additional funds, enter into formal agreements with the respective CVSOs specifying the allowable uses of these funds.

Fully Implemented
6

The department should ensure that Veterans Services continues to pursue its various initiatives related to gathering veteransí contact information and increasing veteransí awareness of the benefits and services available to them. Additionally, the department should pursue efforts to update its Web site to ensure that it contains current, accurate, and useful information for veteransí reference.

Fully Implemented
7

The department should ensure that, where appropriate, it enters into formal agreements with the state entities Veterans Services collaborates with to ensure that it and other entities are accountable for the agreed upon services and that these services continue despite staff turnover, changes in agency priorities, or other factors that could erode these efforts.

Fully Implemented
8

To adequately identify the service providers and stakeholders that could assist Veterans Services in its efforts to increase veteransí awareness of available benefits, the department should ensure that Veterans Services implements a more systematic process for identifying and prioritizing the entities with which it collaborates.

Fully Implemented
9

To ensure that the federal VA is aware of the barriers veterans face in applying for C&P benefits, such as the complexity of the claims process, the department should continue its efforts, and formalize these efforts as necessary, to communicate these concerns to the federal VA.

Fully Implemented
10

To better coordinate efforts to increase the number of veterans applying for C&P benefits, Veterans Services should formally communicate its goals to the CVSOs and work with them to reach some common goals related to serving veterans.

Fully Implemented
11

To ensure that it properly identifies and prioritizes the needs of the veteran community, the department should conduct a formal assessment of those needs, including soliciting input from the CVSOs.

Fully Implemented
12

To ensure that its strategic plan identifies how the department will address the needs and concerns of veterans, the department should develop measurable goals and objectives, as well as specific division action plans that directly align with the needs of the veteran community that it identifies in the plan.

Fully Implemented
13

To ensure that it effectively measures progress toward meeting key goals and objectives, the department should follow the provisions in its strategic plan requiring it to establish performance measures, conduct and document quarterly progress meetings, and publish an annual performance measure report.

Fully Implemented
14

To ensure coordination in its efforts to achieve key goals and objectives, the department should eliminate Veterans Servicesí strategic plan or ensure that the plan is in alignment with the departmentís strategic plan.

Fully Implemented


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