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Audit of the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office

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 Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office (CIDA) for the period July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019.

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 CIDA ensure that all program requirements are fulfilled and documented for participants in the Youthful Diversion Program (YDP)?

Yes

  1. Do victims and witnesses involved in cases that are disposed of in the Superior Court receive assistance throughout the court process from CIDA, as required by Section 5 of Chapter 258B of the General Laws?

Yes

 

To achieve our objectives, we gained an understanding of CIDA’s internal control environment related to the objectives by reviewing applicable agency policies and procedures, as well as conducting inquires with CIDA management.

In addition, we performed the following audit procedures to obtain sufficient audit evidence to address our audit objectives.

YDP

To conduct our testing of YDP, we obtained a list of all cases in the program for our audit period. Using Audit Command Language (ACL), we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 25 of these 89 YDP cases. For each case, we obtained the case file and confirmed that it contained a signed contract, a completed intake form, a police report, a certificate of program completion, and other documents to prove completion of the contract requirements. (The other documents included case notes from the diversion staff, certificates for education classes attended, proof of community service performed, essays, and proof of counseling and assessments.)

Victim Witness Assistance Program

To conduct our testing of the Victim Witness Assistance Program, we obtained a list of all 76 Superior Court cases that had a victim and/or witness and had been disposed of during our audit period. Using ACL, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 25 of the 76 cases. Because of the sensitivity involved with the cases, we conducted our testing by reviewing each case file in the presence of CIDA staff members. Each case file included court filings, case notes created by victim witness advocates (VWAs), and notifications sent by VWAs to victims or witnesses regarding the case. As previously stated, VWAs communicate with victims and witnesses by phone, email, or letter. We used the documents and case notes in the case files to determine whether VWAs provided any services requested by victims or witnesses pursuant to Section 5 of Chapter 258B of the General Laws.

Data Reliability Assessment

We obtained the previously mentioned lists from CIDA’s District Attorney Management Information Office Network case management system for the period July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019.

To confirm the completeness and accuracy of the list of YDP cases, we traced a random sample of 20 cases from the list to the hardcopy case files and selected 20 random case files to trace back to the list. We also conducted tests to identify any hidden columns or rows on the list to determine the integrity of the information on the list.

To confirm the completeness and accuracy of the list of Superior Court cases that had been disposed of and had involved victims and/or witnesses, we traced a random sample of 20 cases from the list to the case files and selected 20 random case files to trace back to the list. In addition, we conducted tests to identify any hidden columns or rows on the list to determine the integrity of the information on the list.

We have determined that the lists are sufficiently reliable for our audit purposes.

Date published: March 3, 2021
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