To ensure that it can comply with state law in the event that it must close parks or reduce park services in the future, the department should improve its methodology for developing individual park unit budgets and determining and tracking park-level costs. Specifically, the department should determine how it will define service levels and measure whether those levels are being met so it can provide budgets for each park unit, as phase three of its process requires.
Phase 3 complete. In May 2016, the Department completed the data collection effort for SBB that documents all functions, across each district and park to enable analysis of the resource requirements for each task the Department needs to perform to achieve its Mission Service Levels. This process also revealed which tasks are currently performed and to what extent (Current Service Level). The Department has been able to analyze this information through high-level analytics, and for the first time can articulate through a qualitative analysis the service levels, it currently provides and how it allocates its resources. The Department has set service level standards in order to align the Department's mission and goals. By setting these standards, the Department is able to prioritize field services, connect resource allocation to service levels, regulate performance metrics, improve operation efficiency, encourage innovation, and enhance the visitor experience. In October of 2017, the Department completed Future Service Levels, which will provide budgets to the park unit level. The information is a dynamic dataset, which requires information be updated periodically.
The Service-Based Budgeting project remains in the development stage. Upon completion, this initiative will inform the Department's internal allotment processes and articulate which services can be performed at any given funding level at a park unit level. The initiative will include a component that dynamically tracks and updates service levels. Service-Based Budgeting is expected to be implemented by summer 2017.
Work is ongoing with the Transformation Team in Service Based Budgeting. This effort will define service levels and park unit budgets. This effort is slated for completion in 2016.
Although the department indicates its status as fully implemented for this recommendation, its response states that work is ongoing to define service levels. Therefore, we have assessed its status as pending.
The Department continues to work with Parks Forward to further define and address service levels and appropriate measurement tools for this process.
The department's response does not agree to its response status of fully implemented. Specifically, the department states that it continues to work with Parks Forward to define and address service levels and appropriate measurement tools for the process. Thus we have assessed the status as pending.
In January 2014, the Department released its Park Unit Costing Report. The increased level of fiscal information provided in this report and in the future will allow for a greater understanding regarding how departmental funding is allocated amongst the various State parks in support of Californias State Park System. The description of additional considerations in the process is attached. We will work with Parks Forward to further define and address service levels and appropriate measurement tools for this process.
In March 2013 the Department created a team to develop a methodology to report on the expenditures of each unit of the State Park system in Fiscal Year 2010/11. The Methodology was finalized in June 2013. The data from that exercise was then cost escalated to identify cost rates for fiscal year 2013/14. This informaion will allow the department to identify cost savings from the closure of a specific park unit. This unit cost information is scheduled to be presented to Legislative staff on December 2, 2014.
In the case of service levels, those are determined by the annual budget for state parks. As such, service levels can differ from year to year depending on the availability of funding.
The department's update does not align with its methodology. Specifically, state law requires the department to assess its annual appropriations based on the amount necessary to fully operate its 278 park units in 2010. Phase three of the departments methodology addressed this by creating specific service levels to define "fully operate." However, the department is now asserting that service levels differ from year to year based on availability of funding. We disagree. We believe that service levels should be defined as a base to determine which services should be reduced or which parks should be closed in the event of a required budget reduction. Without defined service levels, the department will not be able to adequately meet statutory requirements to close or partially close park units based on the amount necessary to fully operate its 278 parks in 2010.
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response 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 or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.