Department of Social Services – Monitoring of Service Provider Agreements (2016-MS-1)

Issued Date
July 19, 2016

[read complete report - pdf]

We also issued six letter reports to the following counties: Cattaraugus, Chemung, Fulton, Monroe, Schenectady and Tioga.

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if counties effectively monitored service provider agreements for the period January 1 through December 31, 2013.


Each county Department of Social Services (Department) is responsible for providing temporary help to eligible individuals and families with social service and financial needs to assist them with leading safe, healthy and independent lives. The Departments provide and manage a wide range of social welfare programs. To accomplish their missions, the Departments enters into contractual agreements with community-based agencies to provide services to individuals and families. Department personnel responsible for monitoring contracts (Managers) must ensure that all services are provided in accordance with service provider agreements and that invoices for payment are properly supported with sufficient documentation. The Departments are required by New York State Social Services Law (Law) to use performance-based contracting, if practicable, when contracting for work activities.

Key Findings

  • None of the Departments we examined developed or implemented written contract monitoring policies and procedures.
  • Department Managers at four of the six counties audited (Chemung, Fulton, Monroe and Tioga) were not monitoring service provider agreements in accordance with managements’ monitoring expectations.
  • The Departments we examined generally did not use performance-based contracting to measure contractor performance and service quality. Twelve contracts of the 30 reviewed (40 percent) from five Departments included performance measures and only one of these included performance incentives.
  • We reviewed 291 invoices associated with 30 contracts valued at $6.8 million and found that, generally, the Departments paid each contractor in accordance with contract terms and each contractor submitted invoices in a timely manner.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop and implement written contract monitoring policies and procedures and ensure Managers follow them.
  • Use performance-based contracting, when practicable. If the County does not use performance-based contracting techniques, consider adding requirements to service contracts that detail recourse actions the County may take when performance measures are not met.