Independent authorities in Massachusetts are agencies that operate independent of the legislative and executive branches of government and are not principally dependent on state funds for their operation. The first independent state authority was established in 1895. Currently, 39 independent authorities operate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts providing a variety of services including transportation, economic development, and health care assistance. These 39 authorities generate annual revenue of over $8.5 billion.
The Office of the State Auditor conducts audits of independent authorities to review compliance with laws, rules, and regulations in a variety of areas to ensure that an authority is fundamentally operating efficiently and effectively. Common objectives for audits of independent authorities include determining whether an authority has proper internal controls, proper oversight policies and procedures, sound financial operations, and procurement processes that are in compliance with sound business practices.