The Berkeley city auditor’s office launched an online dashboard Thursday that publicly displays information about current audit recommendations and past reports.
The dashboard will make audit recommendations more widely accessible to city of Berkeley officials, management and community members, according to Berkeley City Auditor Jenny Wong. Wong, who has held the elected position since 2018, assesses the city’s compliance with local laws and regulations, fulfillment of objectives and ability to provide services equitably and efficiently, according to the city of Berkeley website.
According to Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn, in addition to generally promoting transparency, widely accessible audit information can serve as an important resource for city officials to better understand the functions of programs and new legislation.
“Accurate, relevant, and unbiased information are crucial components to proposing new legislation or better overseeing existing City programs. The City Auditor’s new online portal is a fantastic resource to the community to supplement static reports with real time tracking of progress,” Hahn said in an email. “This is the exact sort of transparency we need to bring about key improvements for our community.”
Audit recommendations can be made by any department within the city, such as public works, police, library and human resources, among others. According to Wong, the dashboard includes every audit report issued in the city since 2012 in addition to recommendations that are still open or not yet implemented.
Wong noted that following up on such recommendations is an important step in an audit follow-up process and having easily accessible audit information will ultimately make it easier to hold the city accountable.
“Generally, we follow up on recommendations for up to five years after they are issued,” Wong said in an email. “Having a publicly accessible dashboard will make it easier for City Council, management, and the community to view data about audit recommendations.”
As of publication, there are 12 audit reports and 69 recommendations viewable on the dashboard. For each recommendation, the dashboard includes the audit issue date, the responsible department, a status update and the category of recommendation, Wong noted. Users can sort and filter the data as well as view graphs by year, department and status.
The dashboard is one of many actions taken by Wong to encourage transparency within Berkeley’s city government, said Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson.
“The work of the city auditor is essential to ensure meaningful oversight of city operations and programs,” Robinson said in a text message. “Under the leadership of Jenny Wong, the auditor’s office has gone above and beyond to listen to the priorities of Berkeley residents and ensure that they are being delivered by the city.”