September 12, 2012

Oregon Audits State MWBE Certification Office, Recommends Major Changes

An audit in Oregon has recommended major changes to the state’s Office of Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business alter its certification process to make it faster and more consistent. This office is responsible for certification of these businesses and maintaining an online directory of certified businesses. The auditing team  focused on state certification processes, not federal DBE certification processing, which is reviewed regularly by state and federal transportation agencies.

Like many state departments, the OMWESB has a small and often overworked staff. With only three certification specialists on staff (out of a five person team,) the auditor indicated a backlog of 371 applications. “We found significant variance in the timeliness of certifications and some inconsistencies in the decisions,” states the report. “While some of these problems are due to the volume of work, management can better manage its workload in a number of ways, provide more direction and support to staff to ensure equitable treatment of applicants, simplify the application for businesses, and better track and use performance information.”

The audit includes several suggestions to improve the application process for all sides involved. The report recommends that “OMWESB management evaluate the necessity and priority of its tasks, review its work balancing and work flows, develop and update policies and procedures, simplify its application forms, develop and use performance information to improve certification efforts, and incorporate these changes into the proposed new computer system.”

The entire 22-page report is available online as a PDF.



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