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Salem, OR—The Oregon Audits Division has won its third consecutive impact award from the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES), Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced today.

The performance audit entitled, “State Agencies Respond Well to Routine Public Records Requests, but Struggle with Complex Requests and Emerging Technologies,” received a 2017 Certificate of Impact:

NLPES is a national organization associated with the National Conference of State Legislatures. The society supports legislative program evaluation and performance auditing with recognition for superior performance. The society's Certificate of Impact is awarded to those organizations whose reports had a documented public policy impact within their respective states.

“Auditing for positive and tangible impact is the quintessential goal for the Audits Division. Utilizing a diverse research methodology, this audit had a substantive, positive impact not only on specific public record collection and retention practices but also towards enhancing overall transparency within state government,” noted Kip Memmott, Oregon Audits Division Director.

The public records audit, released in November 2015, found that:

• Statewide policies around the management and disclosure of public records were inconsistent;
• Existing practices failed to address the increasing use of electronic records, such as text messages and emails;
• And while routine and common requests were quick and inexpensive to fulfill, the more complex requests resulted in lengthy delays and high fees.

Reports receiving impact recognition must meet certain criteria, which include program improvements as a result of implementing audit recommendations and documented impacts from the perspective of the legislature, public and other organizations. Award judges found the audit met impact award criteria in the following ways:

• Policy changes made by the Department of Administrative Services in response to our audit recommendations, such as: Providing statewide guidance for handling non-routine and complex public records requests, and providing statewide guidance on the use and retention of electronic communication
• Legislation introduced by Gov. Kate Brown to create a public records advocate, which stemmed both from our audit recommendation to consider an ombudsman-like position to assist in public records request mediation and the work of the Attorney General's Public Records Law Reform Task Force;
• Media coverage of the audit itself;
• Media coverage of the resulting legislation and continuing discussions among political leaders about public records reform.

The Oregon Audits Division previously earned the NLPES Certificate of Impact in 2016 for its audit on state debt collection, and in 2015 for its audit on the state's adult GED program.

Members of the audit team included: Sheronne Blasi, Olivia Recheked, Caroline Zavitkovski and Laura Fosmire.


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