McGuiness’s National COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template Shapes Public Emergency Response Efforts Countrywide

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “National COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template: Compare and Contrast.” This report reviewed auditor’s reports using the COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template and identified common issue areas that can improve state response efforts during future variants or public health crises.

“The COVID-19 Data Quality Template was developed as part of a bipartisan multistate effort to develop a consistent tool for states to assess their approach to data collection, reporting, and monitoring of coronavirus cases.” McGuiness said. “Many reports found issues affecting mortality data and identifying cause of death. Differences in methodology across the country contributed to decreased public trust in data quality. Increasing communication between states and government entities and sharing best practices is key to restoring public trust and combating this health crisis.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

“4 out of 5 reports noted major challenges due to information systems that were unprepared for the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lacked clear guidance on what data should be collected, and others had antiquated systems that reduced the efficiency and accuracy of public health data collection efforts.” McGuiness said.

 

Upon release of the audit template, Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber stated, “Americans need access to relevant, accurate data that they can trust and understand as they make decisions that impact their families. By adding consistency to the data gathering process and implementing best practices from across the nation, we can help provide clarity and confidence in the COVID-19 statistics that are being shared. Americans must be able to trust the data, so they can trust the resulting policies.”

“I am thankful for the cooperation from Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa, and Washington D.C. and their ongoing work to provide insight for improving public health emergency response efforts. I would also like to thank the many auditor’s offices that are still actively working on reports using the data quality audit template. Working together, we can ensure transparency and efficiency in our response to this global health crisis,” McGuiness said.

The new special report, “COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template: Compare and Contrast” can be found here.

 

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov.

 

 

 

 

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Contact:       
Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff
302-857-3931
Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Releases Report Announcing Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog.” This report reviewed the State of Delaware’s use of federal grant funds provided by the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) for implementing best practices to clear the backlog of untested rape kits.

“Every year there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault in the United States,” McGuiness said. “Unlike other proactive states in the region, Delaware has yet to address legislation mandating testing for all rape kits to eliminate the backlog from recurring and ensure justice is provided for survivors.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

“Sexual assault affects millions of individuals globally regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Acting now demonstrates that survivors matter and that those who break the law will be held accountable. It is key that policymakers develop a solution to prevent unnecessary delays and backlogs from forming,” McGuiness said.

“The Criminal Justice Council continues working with our partners to enhance the current testing policy to ensure the elimination of future backlogs of sexual assault kits,” Said Michael Kelly, Delaware SAKI Coordinator.

“I am thankful for the cooperation from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council and their ongoing work to address untested sexual assault kits in our state. Together, we can shine a spotlight on this issue and inspire a meaningful change that supports Delaware’s survivors and prevents future backlogs from accumulating,” McGuiness said.

The special report: Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog can be found on the Auditor’s Office’s website here.

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov.

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Contact:       

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


McGuiness: Office Achieves Top Ranking on Federal Website Designed to Improve Government Transparency, Accountability

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness said today that her office recently achieved the No. 1 ranking for agencies that have uploaded reports to a website that seeks to improve transparency and accountability for federal, state and local agencies nationwide.

“Oversight.gov was developed by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency,” McGuiness explained. “The goal of the site is to improve public access to information and reports from federal, state and local agencies, including reports from all federal inspectors general.”

The Delaware State Auditor’s Office uploaded 144 reports to Oversight.gov to-date. With millions of views per year, the website has become a popular place for people to access a variety of government-produced reports.

In 2020, McGuiness’ office was the first agency that participated in Oversight.gov’s pilot initiative for state and local governments.

“The Delaware State Auditor’s Office achieved the number-one agency ranking in just two months,” said spokesperson Shiji Thomas of the National Science Foundation Office of the Inspectors General. “Kathy McGuiness and her team have set an example for other agencies to follow ever since the inception of Oversight.gov.”

 

“My team and I are honored to be recognized by Oversight.gov for our hard-work and consistency,” McGuiness stated. “We strongly value transparency and accountability in our office, and Oversight.gov allows us the opportunity to uphold these vales by sharing all of our reports for the public to read.”

To see the rankings on Oversight.gov, go to https://www.oversight.gov/state-local/reports.

About the Delaware State Auditor

The Delaware State Auditor serves Delawareans by providing independent objective oversight of the state government’s use of taxpayer dollars with the goal of deterring fraud, waste and abuse through unbiased assessments, including the use of various audits, special reports, and investigations of financial operations designed to ensure statutory compliance while enhancing governmental economy, efficiency and effectiveness. For more information, visit the website, and connect with the office on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or Instagram

 

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Contact:

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


Auditor McGuiness Launches ‘Fox Tracker,’ an Online American Rescue Plan Act Fund Tracker

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness announced today that a new American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) Fund Tracker, called the Fox Tracker, is now accessible on the Auditor’s Office website.

“The goal of the overall Project: Gray Fox initiative is to maintain transparency between state government and Delawareans,” McGuiness said. “Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that the state be transparent about how it is spending this federal money to help create a strong economic resurgence.”

The development of the Fox Tracker comes after the federal government allocated over $1.5 billion in ARP funds to Delaware entities in March 2021. The Fox Tracker webpage breaks out exactly how much of that $1.5 billion has been allocated to each entity and program across the state.

“So, for example, Fox Tracker users can easily see that the state’s COVID School Emergency Relief Fund received a total of $410.9 million in ARP funds,” McGuiness said. “Then users can, with one click, see exactly how that $410.9 million has been expensed by school districts across the state.”

The Fox Tracker dovetails with the rest of Project: Gray Fox, which details how state agencies, school districts and municipalities are spending the ARP funds they have received. The interactive charts and graphs available at grayfox.delaware.gov allow users to drill down into transaction-level details about how state agencies and school districts have spent their ARP funds. For the 20 Gray Fox-participating municipalities, users can see exactly how much money they have spent in each approved ARP expenditure category.

“It’s a real-time continuum of how that $1.5 billion is being split up, how it’s been allocated and to whom, and exactly how entities are spending their portions,” McGuiness said. “The Fox Tracker and Project: Gray Fox provide the most in-depth, comprehensive information available online about the life cycle of these ARP funds in Delaware, and my office’s website is truly a one-stop shop for Delawareans to track this money in their communities.”

The Fox Tracker joins the CARES Act Fund Tracker, which shows how Delaware state agencies have spent the $927 million they received from the federal government as a result of the March 2020 passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Fox Tracker data is updated every Thursday, and CARES Act Fund Tracker data is updated every Monday.

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Contact:

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


Auditor’s Office Achieves Highest Possible Ranking for National Peer Review  

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today that the Delaware State Auditor’s Office officially passed its national peer review on Friday.

 

“I am thrilled to report that our office received the highest possible ranking on our peer review,” McGuiness said. “This result is a testament to the professional standards that our talented team upholds to provide Delawareans with transparency, efficiency and accountability in state government.”

 

A peer review is an examination done every three years of the audit work performed by one state auditor’s office by auditing peers from other states. For Delaware’s peer review this time, auditors from New Jersey, Colorado and Texas examined how well the Auditor’s Office adheres to national professional auditing standards, as well as to its own policies and procedures governing how engagements are conducted.

 

The Delaware State’s Auditor’s Office is a member of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), which facilitates the peer review and coordinates the peer review team members. The goal of peer reviews is to monitor state Auditor’s Offices’ accounting and auditing practices to promote quality work.

 

“It’s so gratifying to receive acknowledgement from our peers of what I have always known: that our team excels at fulfilling our mission of looking out for Delawareans’ tax dollars,” McGuiness said. “I appreciate the peer reviewers’ diligence, and I thank NASACT for providing the opportunity for an objective professional assessment of our office.”

 

The new peer review can be found on the Auditor’s Office website here.

 

 

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Contact:       

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff 

302-857-3931, Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov