Audit: County’s risk management approach is ‘well designed but its implementation limited its effectiveness’

Reporting elements need to be re-established in keeping with Clark County Code and updates to the code are needed to reflect changes in operations

VANCOUVER — The Clark County Audit Oversight Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Tue., July 2, to review a recent performance audit of the county’s Risk Management function. The meeting will be in conference room 698 on the sixth floor of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Copies of the audit are available on the county website at https://www.clark.wa.gov/auditor/audit-reports.

The Risk Management function has undergone notable changes since the county’s 2014 departure from the Washington Counties Risk Pool. The purpose of this audit was to determine if the Risk Management function was effectively and efficiently reducing the risk of loss in the county.

The audit found that the County’s Risk Management approach is well designed but its implementation limited its effectiveness. Reporting elements need to be reestablished in keeping with Clark County Code and updates to the code are needed to reflect changes in operations. 

The audit also found that since leaving the risk pool, the Risk office’s data reliability has diminished and the application of the risk process varied between workers’ compensation and general liability claims. Analysis of the available claims data showed gains in efficiency and effectiveness within the Workers’ Compensation program. Analysis also showed fewer claims but an increase in litigated claims overall.

The Risk Management function has recently been assigned to the Human Resources department. Additionally the county expanded a contract with the third-party administrator currently managing workers’ compensation claims. These measures are designed to improve communications, create efficiencies, and address many of the data capture deficiencies listed in the report.

The report makes recommendations that include: retain and implement Clark County Code 2.95 elements aligned with best practices, design and implement controls activities to improve claim histories, review controls to expanded third-party administrator contract, and consistently applying the risk management process to the general liability program.

“In today’s challenging environment, a coordinated and continuously evolving risk management process is essential,” said Auditor Greg Kimsey. “An effective process will reduce risk to employees and the public as well as improve the county’s ability to manage costs.”

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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