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What are audits of consumer services?

___An audit is an independent, formal inspection of the procedures, practices, policies, and/or programs of a service, in order to show that that the service is what it is meant to be, and that it adheres to accepted legal, ethical, and professional standards.

___You acknowledge two types of consumer services:

  • Publicly-funded services offered to a target population - often disadvantaged - to improve its physical, economic, psychological, or social well-being.
  • Publicly-regulated services offered to the general public.

Why conduct audits of consumer services?

___To determine whether needed services are actually being provided

___To use as ammunition for an advocacy campaign to acquire needed services

___To determine whether services that are being funded are actually being provided as they were intended to be

___To protect the interests of those for whom the services are intended

___To protect the economic and social interests of the public, who are paying for the services or their regulation

___To improve the chances of the successful resolution of community issues

___To foster social change

Who should conduct audits of consumer services?

___Do you have the expertise to conduct the audit?

___Do you have the resources to conduct the audit?

___Are you the most appropriate party to conduct the audit? (Is it someone else's job?)

___Can you gain the cooperation of the organization to be audited?

___Would an audit by you be as credible as one conducted by someone better known?

If you don't conduct the audit, you might choose:

___A government oversight agency or regulator

___A professional oversight body

___A watchdog organization

___Academics and other researchers and experts in the field

___Eminent individuals or commissions they serve on

___An audit team from one or more peer organizations


When should you conduct audits of consumer services?

___When you're advocating for the need for a particular service

___When there's a question about the availability of services

___When there's a question about equity in the delivery of services

___When funding is at stake

___When there's a broad-ranging community development or other, similar effort

How do you organize and conduct audits of consumer services?

___You gather evidence of the need for the audit

___You identify an appropriate auditor

___You gather support for the audit

To conduct an audit of consumer services:

___You budget adequate resources for the audit

___You negotiate beforehand with the organization to be audited

___You decide what information you need

___You gather data

___You analyze the data

___You prepare an audit report, including a plan for correcting whatever problems you found

___You work with the audited organization to put remedies into practice

___You decide what to do with the audit results

___You create a plan for maintaining the audit process