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Audit of the Department of Labor Relations Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Department of Labor Relations.

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 Department of Labor Relations (DLR) for the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.

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 findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

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

Objective

Conclusion

  1. Did DLR have case flow management time standards for the processing of all types of cases?

No; see Findings 1 and 4

  1. Did DLR meet the time standards it has established for the processing of cases?

No; see Findings 2 and 3

 

To achieve our audit objectives, we gained an understanding of the internal controls we deemed significant to our audit objectives by interviewing DLR management and evaluating the controls’ effectiveness. In addition, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to address our audit objectives.

  • We obtained and reviewed applicable laws, regulations, and other authoritative guidance.
  • We evaluated DLR’s internal control plan for compliance with the Office of the Comptroller of the Commonwealth’s guidance.
  • We reviewed the Massachusetts House and Senate Journals (which list reports received from state agencies) from July 3, 2017 through October 31, 2017 and January 17, 2019, respectively, for receipt of DLR’s annual reports for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.
  • We obtained case data for all nine case types and their related case event activity by date (e.g., case filings, probable cause determinations, and hearing officer decisions) for 100% of the 1,704 cases11 that were either opened or closed during our audit period, or still pending as of June 30, 2018, directly from DLR’s Time Matters case management system and performed the following procedures:
     
    • For case types that we reviewed and found not to have the time standards required by DLR’s October 2017 document A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law (the Green Book), we identified 100% of the population from our audit period and calculated the number and percentage of cases.
    • For case types that did have the time standards established in the Green Book, we identified 100% of the population from our audit period for Unfair Labor Practice, Grievance Arbitration, and Clarification/Amendment Petition cases that exceeded established time standards and calculated the number and percentage of cases by case type.

To determine the reliability of the information obtained from Time Matters, we evaluated information security by conducting interviews, examining supporting documentation, and performing observations. Additionally, we performed validity and integrity tests of the data, which included (1) testing for missing data elements (e.g., case opening date), (2) scanning for duplicate records, (3) tracing a sample of cases to source documents, and (4) comparing summarized case data to case opening and closing statistics in DLR’s annual reports. We determined that the information was sufficiently reliable for audit testing.

11.    This figure includes all case types (e.g., Unfair Labor Practice charges and petitions).

Date published: May 15, 2019
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