Gibson has served as the internal auditor for continuous improvement for Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) since 2013. The Board sought to expand the impact of its internal audit program by conducting department-level audits, and include every aspect of school system programs and operations. Under this engagement, Gibson has reported directly to the Board Audit Committee as required by state law. Below are examples of internal audit engagements for FBISD.
Academic Program Management Audit
As part of its continuing contract to provide internal auditing services to FBISD, Gibson conducted an Academic Program Management Audit in 2019-20. Beginning in 2016, FBISD launched an entire curriculum re-write for all K-12 content areas. Additionally, the district implemented a new learning management system (Schoology) to house and deliver the new curriculum. The primary objective of the project was to assess the management and implementation of academic programming – with a focus on FBISD’s new initiatives – and ensure that resource utilization was being maximized. The scope of the audit focused on several key areas: effectiveness of instructional leadership and academic program management, quality of professional learning and supports, strategies around performance management, and an evaluation of FBISD’s curriculum management, instruction, and assessments. Gibson conducted its audit through data analysis, interviews, and surveys, delivering its recommendations to FBISD’s school board, which ranged from strategies for campus leaders’ development of teachers to change management practices to improve the implementation of district-wide initiatives.
Construction Management Internal Audits
Gibson has conducted three internal audits of FBISD’s construction management function since 2014. The first audit was of the entire construction management function. This audit was different from a typical internal audit in that it was “preemptive,” meaning the focus was more on evaluating the readiness of the district’s construction management function for a $484 million bond program. Procedures for this audit included the review of department organization, the bidding and award process, execution and administration of contracts, change order procedures, and budget control. The audit team evaluated applicable board policies and district procedures and controls for construction management, including management reporting. The audit also included a review of district processes to determine whether opportunities for efficiency improvements exist. Gibson performed limited audit testing of historical construction projects to better understand current processes and to corroborate information obtained through interviews and document reviews. Eleven recommendations resulted from this audit. The major recommendations included:
- Modify project reporting to provide more detail regarding changes to schedule and specifications, as well as increased status reporting. Additional data would increase oversight and equip FBISD with the data to hold contractors accountable for performance.
- Develop or update existing standards for design and safety. Current design standards help ensure that FBISD is in compliance with law and that schools are constructed in ways that align to their academic goals and philosophies. Safety standards must be developed and enforced for job sites, particularly at active school sites.
- Maximize the use of availability technology within invoice processing and overall project management. Efficiencies and increased reporting capabilities could be realized by re-engineering the contractor payment process and using a comprehensive Project Management Information System.
Gibson also conducted a follow-up audit of these recommendations. Gibson interviewed staff responsible for implementing the recommendations, and reviewed and verified the actions taken by FBISD in response to the recommendations. Gibson’s follow-up audit found that all of the recommendations made in the initial audit report had been fully implemented.
The purpose of the third audit was to monitor the district’s oversight of a third-party program manager, ensuring compliance with the District’s Design and Construction Procedures Manual, and adhering to the Program Management Plan. Using direct access to the Project Management Information System used by the third-party program manager and FBISD, Gibson audited program information, activities, and reporting directly from the system, all of which led to the development of five recommendations for the district. This audit helped FBISD proactively identify a campus that was at-risk for not opening by the beginning of the school year. Other recommendations focused on increasing progress reporting requirements for the third-party and improving internal controls over site observation activities and documentation.
Internal Audit Recommendation Implementation Dashboard
The FBISD Board Audit Committee (BAC) was looking for a consolidated way to track the implementation status of various audits that have been performed as part of its internal audit program. Gibson developed a secure, web-based interactive dashboard for the FBISD board members so they are able to monitor the implementation status of all recommendations made in audits and follow-up audits. In addition, the Board members are able to access supporting documentation that the management has provided that provides evidence that recommendations have been implemented. Because the internal audit implementation dashboard consolidates all internal audit implementation status information into a single portal, BAC members are able to provide effective oversight of the internal audit program.