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Audit of Executive Office of the Trial Court—Office of Court Interpreter Services objectives, scope and methodology.

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Executive Office of the Trial Court—Office of Court Interpreter Services.

Table of Contents

Overview

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of certain activities of the Office of Court Interpreter Services (OCIS) within the Executive Office of the Trial Court for the period November 15, 2019 through October 31, 2020. When performing our test of hiring of interpreters, we extended our audit period back through April 1, 2018 to obtain a sufficient population to reasonably conclude on the audit objective.

We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Below is a list of our audit objectives, indicating each question we intended our audit to answer and the conclusion we reached regarding each objective.

Objective

Conclusion

  1. Does OCIS use staff interpreters more than per-diem interpreters for court assignments in accordance with Section 9.01 of the 2009 Standards and Procedures of the Office of Court Interpreter Services regarding location and availability?

Yes 

  1. Does OCIS recruit qualified court interpreters who represent the language interpreter requests of the courts and the recipients of the interpretation in accordance with Sections 5.02 and 5.03a–5.03e of the 2009 Standards and Procedures of the Office of Court Interpreter Services?

Yes1 

 

To achieve our audit objectives, we gained an understanding of the internal controls we determined to be relevant to the objectives by reviewing agency policies and procedures, as well as making inquiries and observations. In addition, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to address our audit objectives.

Scheduling of Interpreters

For scheduling of interpreters, we obtained TeamWork scheduling and invoice data, staff location data, staff interpreter salary data from fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and the “State and Local Government” section of the June 2020 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation document from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. We performed a detailed analysis of all 40 staff interpreters employed by OCIS, using TeamWork scheduling data to determine whether OCIS complied with Section 9.01 of the 2009 Standards and Procedures of the Office of Court Interpreter Services for the scheduling of interpreters. We determined whether staff interpreters were used more than per-diem interpreters at the staff interpreters’ assigned court locations.

Hiring of Qualified Interpreters

For hiring of qualified interpreters, we obtained lists of staff interpreters with hire dates and per-diem interpreters with active vendor code2 dates. To obtain a sufficient population to reasonably conclude on the audit objective, we extended the audit period back through April 1, 2018. We tested 100% of the population of interpreters hired in the audit period. The population consisted of 9 staff interpreters and 9 per-diem interpreters, for a total population of 18 interpreters. For each interpreter, we obtained evidence (including applications, screening examination results, and emails) and verified OCIS’s compliance with Sections 5.02 and 5.03a–5.03e of the 2009 Standards and Procedures of the Office of Court Interpreter Services. The minimum requirements of Section 5.02 are a four-year degree, verifiable references, and a native-level mastery of both English and a foreign language. In addition, Sections 5.03a–5.03e require interpreters to complete a screening questionnaire and an interview, pass a screening examination and a criminal record check, and participate in introductory training and a mentoring program.

Data Reliability Assessment

We tested certain general information technology controls, including access controls, security training, personnel screening, and account management, over the TeamWork system to determine the reliability of the data therein.

In addition, for the list of scheduled interpretations extracted from TeamWork, we ran data integrity tests to identify missing data, data outside our audit period, and duplicate data. We also performed trace testing3 to and from MassCourts4 data to confirm accuracy and completeness. For the interpreter invoice list extracted from TeamWork, we ran data integrity tests to identify missing data and data outside our audit period and performed trace testing to and from data in the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System5 (MMARS) to confirm accuracy and completeness. For the lists of staff interpreters with hire dates and per-diem interpreters with active vendor code dates, we ran data integrity tests to identify missing data and performed trace testing to and from electronic MMARS data to confirm accuracy and completeness.

We determined that the data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our audit work.

Conclusion

Our audit revealed no significant instances of noncompliance that must be reported under generally accepted government auditing standards.

1. While conducting audit testing for this objective, we noted some instances where documentation was not complete. Specifically, we tested 8 attributes for each of the 18 court interpreters selected for testing, for a total of 144 attributes. Of the 144 attributes tested, OCIS did not provide documentation for 14, which we deemed immaterial. Overall, we concluded that OCIS was substantially compliant with the requirements, and we discussed documentation observations with the auditee during the audit.

2. Per-diem interpreters are considered vendors rather than employees. Each one is assigned an active vendor code to process payments for completed shifts.

3. This is an audit technique in which transactions are followed to and from the source.

4. MassCourts is the Trial Court’s case management system.

5. MMARS is the official accounting system for Commonwealth business.

Date published: August 12, 2021
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