The Audit Process
- Residents of Austin approve Proposition K this November.
- The City of Austin crafts a request for proposals (RFP) that is consistent with the requirements of the ordinance (independence and experience) and sends it out to vendors. 3. The City of Austin receives the responses to the RFP process and recommends the most qualified firm to the Austin City Council.
- The Austin City Council chooses a firm to conduct the audit.
- The selected firm brings a team of auditors to conduct a thorough audit of the City's operational and fiscal performance (See Scope of Audit).
- The firm prepares a report with recommendations, including annual and long-term savings associated and how to implement each recommendation.
- The public and City Council review the recommendations and the City Council chooses which recommendations to implement.
Scope of the Audit
Priority: Efficiency and Enhancement Recommendations
Identify recommendations that prioritizes target areas with large and substantial expenditures that affect the City's general-purpose fund and where the City can become more efficient and thereby provide cost savings.
The City should examine expenditure savings and revenue enhancements that drive greater efficiencies or productivity or process improvements. Targeted areas for improvement should include:
- Service Levels – Identify areas where the current level of service potentially exceeds what is necessary and could be reduced to decrease cost
- Service Delivery – Identify current service delivery models and opportunities to deliver services more efficiently, including citizen-centric service delivery models
- Consolidation – Identify opportunities to combine departments, programs or services to realize economies of scale, eliminate redundancies and improve efficiency
- Shared Services – Identify common functions across the City departments and other area local governments that could be incorporated into a shared services model to improve efficiency
- Technology– Identify opportunities to digitize services, automate processes, or otherwise expand the use of technology to improve both efficiency and effectiveness
- Human Resources – Identify areas where the structure, capabilities, or incentives for the City's workforce could be improved including review of employee benefit and retirement programs
- Contract opportunities – Identify opportunities to contract for functions the City's currently performs.
- Facilities – Identify opportunities for the City to make more efficient use of its facilities and other real assets
- Economic Development – Examine economic development programs to assess the value such programs provide to the City and identify areas for public-private partnerships to improve the City's use of existing assets
- Revenue Enhancements - Examine whether the City processes revenues efficiently, evaluate cash collections, identify new revenue opportunities and utilization of external revenue sources (e.g., grants, foundations, etc.) based on peer analysis
- Long-Term Debt Restructuring Options – Review the City's current long-term debt and identify restructuring opportunities
- Real Estate – Review of current public asset and land holders and determine opportunities for the monetization of underutilized and abandoned land, rights of ways and facilities
Priority: Budget Analysis
A comprehensive diagnostic analysis of the City's budget to identify spending and revenue trends and outliers. This Plan objective should include:
- Trend Analysis – Review and analysis of both historical and forecasted revenue and expense trends
- Benchmarking analysis – Comparison of the City's revenue and expense spending levels to peer cities and other recognized benchmarks
The output of the Budget Analysis should produce a diagnostic analysis of the City's authorized budget for all general-purpose funds. This will include an analysis of historical, current, and future trends, and an identification of any spending or revenue outliers.
Priority: Implementing a targeted list of opportunities
The output of this strategy should be a prioritized listing of opportunities for operating savings, efficiency and enhancement recommendations both in written form and explained through testimony before the City Council and other responsible bodies. These recommendations should be classified into short-term opportunities which can be implemented within the current budget cycle, medium-term opportunities which can be implemented within one to three years, and long-term opportunities which may require three or more years to implement. To ensure the credibility of the Plan, the consulting firm engaged to perform this review must be in a credible position to not just advise but implement its recommendations.
The City should request that the Blueprint Strategies be completed over a 120-day period. The final report should include a specific implementation plan for each of the recommendations including:
- A list of the required critical steps, including any statutory or regulatory changes
- An estimate of the financial and personnel resources required
- An estimate of the timeframe to implement the recommendation
- The deployment strategies, communication management, dashboards, and monitoring tools necessary for implementation.
Upon the submission of the final Government Efficiency Blueprint the City should provide an option to the government efficiency consultant to provide Implementation Support services to oversee the execution and implementation of the Blueprint Recommendations. Such tasks should include:
- Execution of the Change Management Plan
- Serve as Project Management Office to ensure departments are successfully meeting the study recommendations
- Serving in surge or interim operational roles to provide extra capacity for implementation
- Provide interim reporting to the City Council on the success of the City in the implementation of recommendations and report risks and mitigation strategies