OIG Advisory Regarding City Operating Policies and Procedures
April 28, 2016
Regularly maintained, thorough, and well communicated policies and procedures are critical tools for both operational efficiency and government accountability. Policies that are not documented and distributed may be inadequately followed or misunderstood. OIG investigations and audits have revealed that various departments do not properly document, and communicate to staff, their policies and procedures. This lack of documentation and communication undermines the City’s ability to govern effectively and efficiently and has resulted in lost revenue and decreased employee accountability.
For this review, OIG sent a questionnaire to 32 City departments to learn about their specific policy- and procedure-making practices. We received a variety of responses. Some departments reported that they fully documented and regularly updated policies and procedures, notified staff of policy and procedural changes, and documented that notification. However, others reported that they,
- did not have a written or defined policy and procedure review process;
- had documented and updated fewer than 75% of their policies and procedures;
- did not update controls to ensure the implementation of new policies and procedures.
With 32,059 staff employed in various departments, offices, and field locations, ensuring that all City employees are familiar with relevant policies and procedures can be a challenge. However, we encourage the Mayor’s Office to provide guidance to ensure standard practices, as outlined in federal best practices, are followed across departments. This will promote compliance and accountability among the City’s workforce, as well as good governance more generally.