Audit of Utah’s court system finds need for controls over surcharge payments, weaknesses in online records system

A routine audit of Utah’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has found some weaknesses in internal controls involving the collection of surcharges and the operation of an online repository of court records.

In a report released Wednesday, the Office of the State Auditor noted that justice courts are required to remit to the State Treasurer surcharges imposed for violations of state law. However, neither the AOC nor the State Treasurer’s Office has established a control to ensure that the surcharges are properly calculated and remitted, the report says.

In addition, the AOC’s XChange program, a subscription-based clearinghouse of court information, has multiple weaknesses, the report says. Those include an inefficient system to set up an online account, which requires a subscriber to download, print, sign and submit by fax or scan/email a form agreeing to the terms of the program.

There also is an inadequate separation of duties among the six AOC employees who work with the XChange program, and inadequate controls over cash receipts, according to the report. It says the AOC does not perform an independent review of expected XChange receipts

In response, the AOC said it will develop a method for sharing information through its computer system with the state treasurer’s office; make changes to its account setup process for XChange; and create the necessary independent reviews over adjustments to XChange accounts and expected receipts.