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State agencies still lag in internal auditing

Last year, auditors said the role of internal auditing wasn't 'prioritized or well understood by agency management and the Legislature.'

A report Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno issued on Thursday says Oregon is still falling behind on auditing itself.

Last year, auditors said the role of internal auditing — which monitors and can sniff out problems in agency operations — wasn't "prioritized or well understood by agency management and the Legislature."

Some state agencies weren't following professional standards for internal auditing, and the Department of Administrative Services found that "poor guidance and a lack of strategic management and communication from DAS" have played a role in the internal audit function not being as robust as it could be, auditors said at the time.

Thursday's report showed that the state has implemented just over half of the 16 changes that auditors recommended.

Earlier this year, nine state agencies got permission in the new two-year budget to hire more internal auditors. The administrative agency has hired more people to coordinate internal audits and its own internal auditor, and has set up a mentorship program for new agency heads.

But, among other issues, DAS hasn't come up with a strategy to coordinate state internal audits, promote effective audits or "ensure integrity of internal auditing in the state," according to the follow-up report.