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Audit of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.

Table of Contents

Overview

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) has conducted a performance audit of certain activities of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) for the period October 1, 2016 through September 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 our audit objective, indicating the question we intended our audit to answer and the conclusion we reached regarding the objective.

Objective

Conclusion

  1. Does MDDC properly administer its federal grant program to sub-recipients, including authorizing, recording, and monitoring?

Yes

 

To achieve our objective, we gained an understanding of the internal controls we deemed significant to our audit objective by evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of controls related to the awarding of sub-recipient grants. In addition, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to address our audit objective.

We obtained a list of the nine sub-recipient grants MDDC had awarded, finalized, and closed during our audit period. We reviewed each of the sub-recipient reports in the DD Suite2 application for compliance with financial and programmatic requirements. Specifically, we reviewed whether each sub-recipient’s reports were reviewed by MDDC personnel, whether each sub-recipient met its stated goals, and whether the budgets and expenditures were reviewed by MDDC’s project manager. We also determined whether the grants were properly recorded in the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System (MMARS). More specifically, we determined whether the grants were properly entered in MMARS, and we reviewed the final Payment Request Documents to determine whether they were approved by the executive director or chief fiscal officer, whether the amounts agreed with MMARS, and whether the total expenditures recorded in DD Suite agreed with the payments recorded in MMARS.

Data Reliability

In 2018, OSA performed a data reliability assessment of MMARS focused on testing selected system controls (access controls, application controls, configuration management, contingency planning, and segregation of duties) for the period April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. As part of our current audit, we reviewed DD Suite for programmatic review and acceptance of sub-recipient reports. We reconciled the cost data in DD Suite with the data recorded in MMARS. We also performed a data query from MMARS of all grant payments made by MDDC to non-public entities (sub-recipients) and tested to verify that the cost data were consistent in all data sources. We also obtained the Payment Request Documents and verified that these payments agreed with the reports. We reconciled the total grant expenditures recorded in DD Suite with the payments recorded in MMARS through December 31, 2018.3 We also verified these grant payments with the Comptroller of the Commonwealth’s CTHRU open records platform.4

We determined that the data in DD Suite and MMARS were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our audit.

2.    According to MDDC’s website, “The DD Suite is an application that Developmental Disabilities Councils use to collect data on implementation activities, award and administer grants, and generate required data for federal reports.”

3.    Our audit period was October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2018. However, payments for federal grants are on a three-year cycle. Payments for these grants must be made within this cycle, which started on October 1, 2016 and will end on September 30, 2019.

4.    CTHRU is a website maintained by the Comptroller of the Commonwealth to allow public access to state spending and payroll data.

Date published: February 7, 2019
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