The Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA) is the non-partisan audit arm of the Kansas Legislature. Our mission is to inform policy makers by providing accurate, unbiased information through our audit reports. Our audits help the Legislature by focusing on three core areas - oversight, insight, and foresight. We help the Legislature by providing oversight of state government by evaluating whether agencies are following laws, achieving intended results, and operating efficiently. We also help legislators develop a better understanding of state government by providing insight into how agencies and programs actually work. Finally, in some cases, we provide legislators with foresight by predicting how changing current government structures and systems might affect state costs and program outcomes.
The head of the agency is the Legislative Post Auditor, who employees a 25-person staff to conduct our audits. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds, including public administration, law, political science, business, and other social sciences. The work requires excellent critical-thinking skills, writing and data-analysis skills, and the ability to work with a wide variety of people. While not required, most of our staff have at least a master's degree in their chosen area of study.
LPA reports to the Legislative Post Audit Committee (LPAC), a bipartisan joint committee of the Kansas Legislature. It includes a total of 10 members. The Senate President and the House Speaker each get to appoint three members, while the Senate and House minority leaders each appoint two members. The committee selects the topics for LPA audits and directs the final distribution of those reports. The committee is also responsible for hiring and evaluating the head of the agency (the Legislative Post Auditor) and for reviewing and approving the agency's annual budget request.
A performance audit is an evaluation of how well a government function, agency, program, or activity is working. The purpose of these audits is to provide legislators and agency management with accurate, unbiased information which can be used to create, manage, oversee, modify, and occasionally eliminate agencies or programs. Our performance audits typically answer the following types of questions:
Is the program or agency complying with the law?
Is the program or agency accomplishing what it is supposed to accomplish?
Could the program or agency operate more efficiently?
What might happen if the agency or program were changed?
In practice, most performance audits answer a combination of these types of questions.
K.S.A. 46-1135 also provides for our office to conduct information technology (IT) audits as directed by the Post Audit Committee. This includes two broad classes of IT audits - IT Security and project monitoring. IT security audits assess the security controls agencies have established to protect their IT systems. The detailed security reports are considered confidential under the Kansas Open Records Act, though we do publish a high-level summary of the security findings once every three years. Project monitoring audits are continuous evaluations of ongoing IT projects to help ensure they comply with project-management requirements and best practices, and to help identify projects that are at risk of failure. These reports are published on a quarterly basis.
Legislative Post Audit also contracts with external CPA firms to conduct financial audits of several state agencies. These include annual audits of the state's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), as well as financial statements for the Kansas Lottery, the state pension fund (KPERS), the state highway fund (KDOT), and certain water funds (KDHE). In addition, federal law (2 CFR 2000) requires an annual audit of the programs that spend a significant amount of federal funds to ensure they follow all applicable federal requirements. Finally, external audit firms also perform audits of the security at the Kansas Lottery and the state 911 system every three years.
Every performance audit report we have issued since 1972 is available on this website. The most recent audits can be found on the home page, while the audit search page can be used to quickly locate one of our archived audits. Searches can be conducted by year, subject, agency, or keyword.
Performance audit reports are typically available in two forms - a full audit report and a condensed highlights sheet. The full audit report fully explains our audit methodology, findings, and conclusions. It frequently includes additional background material on the agency or program, as well as charts, graphs, and appendices that provide more detail on the audit findings. The highlights sheet condenses the findings and conclusions from our full reports into only a few pages to make it easier to read them quickly.
In addition, we prepare an annual report to the Kansas Legislature which summarizes the audits issued during the previous year. It also includes the results of our follow-up work to help determine how agencies have progressed in addressing our audit recommendations. All annual reports issued since 2012 can be found on our website.
While some audits are statutorily required, most are requested by legislators and approved by the Legislative Post Audit Committee. Under the Legislative Post Audit Act, individual legislators, legislative committees, or the Governor can request a performance audit, but the Legislative Post Audit Committee ultimately decides which audits we will conduct. The process works as follows:
A legislator, legislative committee, or representative from the Governor's Office contacts our staff to let us know they are interested in an audit.
We work with the requestor to develop an audit proposal that summarizes the request. The proposal includes background information on their concerns, a list of specific questions the audit would answer, a tentative methodology for answering the questions, and an estimate of the time and resources that would be required.
Once the requestor is satisfied that the proposed audit would adequately address their concerns, we submit it to the Legislative Post Audit Committee for consideration.
The Legislative Post Audit Committee considers the audit proposals at its spring meeting and selects the audits for the coming year.
The Legislative Post Audit Act (K.S.A. 46-1114) gives our office broad authority to conduct audits of state and local agencies, as well as certain private individuals and organizations. Those auditable entities include:
any state agency
any local government agency that receives funding from or through the state
anyone who receives a grant from the state
anyone who contracts with the state
anyone who is licensed or regulated by any state agency
Although state law gives us the authority to audit any state agency, in practice we do not directly audit the legislative branch of government because we would not be viewed as impartial and independent. In addition, our authority to audit private individuals or organizations who do business with the state is limited to their specific grant or contract. Similarly, our authority to audit those who are licensed or regulated by the state is limited to the licensed or regulated activity.
Under the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards which are promulgated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA), all audit agencies must undergo a triennial peer review. The purpose of this review is to assess whether we have designed and implemented a system of quality control to ensure our audits comply with those standards.
Our office contracts with the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers (NASACT) for our triennial peer review. Our most recent peer review was completed in October 2016, and we received the highest rating possible. A copy of the peer review report can be found here.