Report 2020-128/628.1 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information and periodic reports regarding their progress in implementing the reportís recommendations. For audits conducted under the State High Risk Audit Program, these periodic reports are due every 90 days from the issue date of the report until such time as the State Auditor directs the auditee otherwise, according to title 2, section 61024 of the California Code of Regulations. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2020-128/628.1: Employment Development Department: EDD's Poor Planning and Ineffective Management Left It Unprepared to Assist Californians Unemployed by COVID‑19 Shutdowns (Release Date: January 2021)

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Recommendations to Employment Development Department
Number Recommendation Status
2

To provide a more transparent picture of claims in its backlog, by March 2021 EDD should revise its public dashboards to clearly indicate the number of claims that have waited longer than 21 days for payment because EDD has not yet resolved pending work on the claim.

Fully Implemented
3

To ensure that its identity verification processes are as robust as possible, EDD should determine by June 2021 the reasons why claimants cannot successfully complete their identity verification through ID.me and work with its vendor to resolve these problems. EDD should thereafter regularly monitor the rate of successful identity verifications to ensure that it consistently minimizes unnecessary staff intervention.

Fully Implemented
4

To retain as much automation in initial claims processing as possible, by June 2021 EDD should determine the automation modifications achieved through its emergency processing tool that it can retain and by September 2021 it should make those a permanent feature of its UI Online application.

Fully Implemented
5

To ensure that it does not delay needed improvements to its IT systems, EDD should, by June 2021, identify the elements of the BSM that can assist it in making timely payments and that it can implement incrementally. It should then prioritize implementing the elements most likely to benefit Californians.

Fully Implemented
6

To ensure its ability to respond in a timely fashion to fluctuations in its workload, EDD should immediately begin modeling workload projections that account for possible scenarios that would cause a spike in UI claims. EDD should plan its staffing around the likelihood of those scenarios, including having a contingency plan for less likely scenarios that would have a significant impact on its workload.

Fully Implemented
8

To continue providing timely payment of benefits to Californians in need while also effectively responding to the Department of Labor's directive regarding immediately resuming all eligibility determinations and resolving all suspended determinations, EDD should do the following:

-Perform a risk assessment of its deferred workloads, including deferred eligibility determinations and retroactive certifications. EDD's assessment should take into account the relative likelihood that it issued payments to ineligible claimants by considering historic overpayment trends as well as the new or altered eligibility requirements the federal government adopted in response to the pandemic. If necessary, EDD should either partner with another state agency or contract for assistance in performing the analysis in support of this assessment.

Fully Implemented
9

To continue providing timely payment of benefits to Californians in need while also effectively responding to the Department of Labor's directive regarding immediately resuming all eligibility determinations and resolving all suspended determinations, EDD should do the following:

-Develop a workload plan that prioritizes its deferred workloads based on the risk assessment and determine the staffing and IT resources needed to accomplish the work within expected time frames.

Fully Implemented
10

To continue providing timely payment of benefits to Californians in need while also effectively responding to the Department of Labor's directive regarding immediately resuming all eligibility determinations and resolving all suspended determinations, EDD should do the following:

-Hire and train staff as necessary in order to carry out the workload plan.

Fully Implemented
11

To continue providing timely payment of benefits to Californians in need while also effectively responding to the Department of Labor's directive regarding immediately resuming all eligibility determinations and resolving all suspended determinations, EDD should do the following:

-Using the workload plan, EDD should process the deferred work in alignment with the following: the need to pay timely benefits to new or continued claimants, federal expectations about the urgency of the deferred work, and any deadlines by which EDD may no longer be allowed to recoup inappropriately paid benefits.

Fully Implemented
12

To ensure that it is able to take informed steps to provide better customer service through improved call center performance, EDD should implement a formal policy by no later than May 2021 that establishes a process for tracking and periodically analyzing the reasons why UI claimants call for assistance. By no later than October 2021, and every six months thereafter, EDD should analyze these data to improve its call center by doing the following:

-Identifying and resolving weaknesses or problems with the ways in which it provides assistance to UI claimants through self-service and noncall-center options.

Fully Implemented
13

To ensure that it is able to take informed steps to provide better customer service through improved call center performance, EDD should implement a formal policy by no later than May 2021 that establishes a process for tracking and periodically analyzing the reasons why UI claimants call for assistance. By no later than October 2021, and every six months thereafter, EDD should analyze these data to improve its call center by doing the following:

-Developing specialized training modules to quickly train its call-center staff on the most commonly requested items with which callers want assistance.

Fully Implemented
14

To assess the effectiveness of its call center, by May 2021 EDD should implement a policy for tracking and monitoring its rate of first-call resolution. EDD should review first-call resolution data at least monthly to evaluate whether it is providing effective assistance to callers.

Fully Implemented
15

To maximize the number of calls that its staff are able to answer, as soon as possible EDD should add the prerecorded message functionality to its new phone system to advise claimants of their rights and responsibilities after they file their claim with an agent.

Fully Implemented
16

To provide a more convenient customer experience, as soon as possible EDD should implement those features of its new phone system that allow callers to request a callback from an agent instead of waiting on hold for assistance.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that EDD's claims processing is as effective and efficient as possible, the Legislature should require EDD to convene a working group to assess the lessons learned from the claim surge and identify the processes that EDD can still improve. That working group should do to the following:

-Include representatives from EDD's UI branch, IT branch, and executive management. It should also include representatives from the strike team.

-Issue a report on the lessons learned from the claim surge by no later than January 2022. The report should identify any improvements that the working group recommends that EDD make and include a review of EDD's implementation of the strike team's recommendations.

Legislation Proposed But Not Enacted
7

To ensure transparency in EDD's operations and provide information to policymakers, the Legislature should require EDD to report on its website at least once every six months the amount of benefit payments for which it must assess potential overpayments, the amount for which it has issued overpayment notices, the amount it has waived overpayment on, and the amount repaid related to those notices. The reports should encompass benefit payments EDD made from March 2020 until the time when it resumes all eligibility determinations. EDD should be required to publish these reports until the repayment period for all the notices has elapsed.

Legislation Enacted
17

To ensure that EDD is better prepared to provide effective services and assistance to Californians during future economic downturns, the Legislature should amend state law to require EDD to develop a recession plan that takes into account the lessons learned from previous economic downturns, including the pandemic. At a minimum, the Legislature should require EDD's plan to include the following:

-The indicators EDD will monitor and use to project the likely upcoming workload that it will face.
-The steps EDD will take to address increases in its workload, such as cross-training non-UI staff, changing its staffing levels, prioritizing specific tasks, and adjusting the way it performs certain work.
-The altered policies or procedures that EDD will activate if a rise in UI claims becomes significant enough to warrant that step.

The Legislature should require EDD to develop the plan within 12 months of the effective date of the related change to state law. To address new developments in UI processes, programs, or other relevant conditions, the Legislature should require EDD to update its recession plan at least every three years thereafter.

Legislation Enacted


Print all recommendations and responses.