Government auditors found it impossible to confirm how long it took Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers to arrive on the scene of nearly half the incidents reviewed in a recent report because there was no record of those response times.
The Internal Audit Unit also noted about 10 case files processed by police during the period between July 2008 and October 2009 were “barred by statute” from being brought before the court – which means those files were not properly completed within the required six-month time frame.
The audit, completed in July 2010, was a general review of output management within the police service and it found, in some areas, the RCIPS was in breach of the Public Management and Finance Law with regard to reporting requirements. However, the audit has only recently been made public and some time has passed since the review was conducted. Since then, auditors said police management accepted the audit’s findings in most cases and began implementing necessary changes to improve the situation.
The Internal Audit Unit reviewed a sample number of police responses during the period and found, in 53 per cent of the incidents where officers’ response times were recorded, police “consistently responded within the required time frame”.
“We found that 47 per cent of responses checked did not state the time officers arrived on the scene of the incidents,” auditors wrote in the report. “As such, we could not reasonably conclude that the timeliness measures … were met.”
Those timeliness measures for response are typically included in the Annual Plan and Estimates section of the Cayman Islands government budget. Those outputs are what legislators and auditors look at to determine what government is spending its money on and what services are being delivered.
Another area the audit report identified as a problem was the “statute barred” cases. Typically, only more minor offences can be statute barred, but they can still include matters like theft and drugs crime.
Auditors noted they were not certain if police management at the time the review was done was even aware of the quality assurance issues concerning case file preparation and police response time.
“We were informed that the lack of technical and human resources were the main causes for the non-production of quality and timeliness reports for the outputs produced,” the report stated. “We also found that a number of the process owners were not fully knowledgeable of the RCIPS’ obligation to fulfil the requirements.
“The failure of the RCIPS to prepare quality and timeliness reports for comparative analysis constitutes a breach of the law [referring to the Public Management and Finance Law],” auditors wrote.
In the police response to the auditors, managers noted the government’s 2010/11 budget was updated to reflect accurate statistical data and police had performed a public satisfaction survey. The results of that survey have not been made available.
Police also noted a new corporate strategy had been developed for the RCIPS, including how performance of the organisation would be indicated.
“This will occur over the next 12 months, giving the RCIPS a real corporate identity and link its work to performance and the annual budget,” the police statement read.
The RCIPS is not alone in failing to meet its output reporting requirements under the Public Management and Finance Law of the Cayman Islands.
In an ongoing review of government’s financial accountability reporting, the Cayman Islands auditor general’s office actually proposed getting rid of requirements that public entities make quarterly and half-year financial reports, which they weren’t doing anyway.
Mr. Swarbrick also recommended a complete revamp of budget output reporting requirements – since the old reporting schemes made it impossible to determine what government departments had achieved during the year, according to the auditor general.
In August, lawmakers passed changes to the Public Management and Finance Law that temporarily removed some reporting requirements, including output reporting, from years in which they weren’t likely to be completed anyway.
A consultant hired by the government, Keith Luck, reviewed the government’s overall financial and human resources management systems and issued his final report in April 2011, and his recommendations were included in changes made to the law.