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From: TSS ()
Subject: The Texas Animal Health Commission July 2005 Report No. 05-039 ON TEXAS LIVESTOCK TRACKING DOCUMENTING DEFICIENTCIES
Date: July 15, 2005 at 5:42 am PST

Texas State Auditor's Office
SAO: Reports:
An Audit Report on the Animal Health Commission

An Audit Report on the Animal Health Commission

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 2005

Report Number 05-039

Overall Conclusion
The Animal Health Commission (Agency) has established systems and processes used for the surveillance of livestock and for the prevention, eradication, and control of livestock diseases. Audit testing verified that the Agency has processes to test livestock for diseases, monitor the movement of livestock, and take action on diseased livestock. However, the Agency can make improvements. The majority of the improvements relate to documentation of the above activities, the accuracy of documentation in related databases, and compliance with documentation rules and regulations.

The Agency is accurately managing, monitoring, and reporting its financial resources.

http://www.sao.state.tx.us/Reports/report.cfm/report/05-039

An Audit Report on

The Animal Health

Commission

July 2005

Report No. 05-039

An Audit Report on

The Animal Health Commission

SAO Report No. 05-039

July 2005

Overall Conclusion

The Animal Health Commission (Agency) has

established systems and processes used for the

surveillance of livestock and for the

prevention, eradication, and control of

livestock diseases. Audit testing verified that

the Agency has processes to test livestock for

diseases, monitor the movement of livestock,

and take action on diseased livestock.

However, the Agency can make improvements.

The majority of the improvements relate to

documentation of the above activities, the

accuracy of documentation in related

databases, and compliance with documentation

rules and regulations.

The Agency is accurately managing, monitoring,

and reporting its financial resources.

Key Points

Improvements to systems and processes established to deliver expected services

are needed.

Although the Agency has established processes for the surveillance of livestock and

for the prevention, eradication, and control of livestock diseases, the Agency

should improve its documentation. Specifically, the Agency should improve

documentation on forms, the accuracy of the information in its databases, and its

compliance with rules and regulations regarding the documentation of permits,

disease testing, hold orders, quarantines, releases, contracts with markets, and

livestock market inspection reports. Additional policies and procedures for

emergency management should be developed, and the Agency should ensure that

all federal funding opportunities are considered.

The Agency accurately manages, monitors, and reports on its financial resources.

The Agency’s processes for reviewing and approving expenditures and for

requesting and collecting revenues provide reasonable assurance that the

expenditures and revenues are accurate, business related, and approved.

Background Information

The Animal Health Commission’s main

mission and role is the assurance of

marketability and mobility of Texas

livestock. This is accomplished through

surveillance and prevention as well as

through the control and eradication of

diseases such as brucellosis and

tuberculosis.

The livestock under the Agency’s control

include cattle, swine, poultry, sheep,

goats, equine family livestock, and

exotic livestock. The Agency consists of

a central office in Austin, eight area

offices, and four state-federal

laboratories. The total value of livestock

for Texas as of January 1, 2005, was

$10.8 billion, and the Agency spent

$18.6 million during fiscal year 2004.

An Audit Report on

the Animal Health Commission

SAO Report No. 05-039

ii

Summary of Information Technology Review

The Animal Health Commission has six major internal information technology

systems that aid in documenting program and financial information. These systems

are not configured to relate to one another for the best use of the systems. We

reviewed the security of these systems as well as general and application controls

for five of the six systems, and we found that the Agency has sufficient policies,

procedures, and systems for backing up and securing its electronic data. However,

improvements are needed for specific edit checks. Edit checks help ensure the

integrity of data in an electronic system by automatically rejecting invalid entries,

such as the entry of text in a field that should contain only numbers (see Chapter

3). In addition, there were issues with the accuracy of the data in the Agency’s

information systems (see Chapter 1).

Our review of the Agency’s computer system revealed vulnerabilities in the

system, which we discussed with management. Overall, it appears that the Agency

is generally protecting its Internet-accessible network resources from the risk of a

successful attack.

Although we did not review the federal Generic Database, which is used to track

activities such as laboratory tests for herds of livestock (not individual animals),

we reviewed other Agency systems that contain disease test results and

information on individual animals.

Summary of Management’s Response

The Agency generally agrees with the recommendations in this report.

Summary of Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

The objectives were to determine whether:

The Agency is delivering expected services as mandated by the Legislature and is

in compliance with applicable statutes, rules, and regulations.

The Agency is maintaining financial viability by properly and accurately

managing, monitoring, and reporting agency cash and budgets.

The scope included the program and financial activities of the Agency as well as

the related information systems. The audit reviewed information from fiscal year

2004 and the first two quarters of fiscal year 2005.

The audit methodology consisted of collecting information and documentation,

performing selected tests and other procedures, analyzing and evaluating the

results of the tests, and conducting interviews with Agency management and staff.

Contents

Detailed Results

Chapter 1

Improvements to the Systems and Processes Established

to Deliver Expected Services Are Needed ......................... 1

Chapter 2

The Agency Accurately Manages, Monitors, and Reports

on Its Financial Resources...........................................11

Chapter 3

Improvements Are Needed to Ensure the Accuracy of

Information Technology Data.......................................13

Appendices

Appendix 1

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology..............................15

Appendix 2

Additional Information on the Livestock Industry in

Texas ...................................................................17

FULL TEXT OF TEXAS LIVESTOCK TRACKING DEFICIENTCIES HERE

http://www.sao.state.tx.us/reports/main/05-039.pdf

TSS




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