Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Continuity of Operations Planning

Issued: March 21, 2018
Link to full audit report 2017-S-33

Link to 90-day response

To determine the adequacy of State agencies’ continuity of operations planning for major unexpected events. Our audit scope included the period January 1, 2017 through August 23, 2017.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (Division) is responsible for coordinating emergency management planning efforts in New York State. The Division encourages and supports State agency efforts to develop agency-specific Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs), which each State agency is required to have in place for each of its facilities, and has developed a series of guidance documents intended to aid agency planning teams when they prepare COOPs. A COOP can help government agencies ensure the stability of essential functions through a wide range of emergencies and disasters. Effective COOPs include plans and procedures that delineate essential functions, specify lines of succession and the emergency delegation of authority, provide for the safekeeping of vital records and databases, identify alternate operating facilities, provide for interoperable communications, and validate capability through tests, training, and exercises.

Key Findings
During our testing of a sample of 11 State agencies, we found that they had incorporated certain essential features of the COOP best practices endorsed by the Division. However, we identified some opportunities for improvements to COOP practices that would enable the agencies to handle emergency or disaster situations more effectively.

Key Recommendations

  • Incorporate the results of our audit into upcoming COOP training to State agencies.
  • Provide technical assistance to State agencies in developing a COOP risk assessment, business impact analysis, and business process analysis.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest
Office of Information Technology Services: Disaster Recovery Planning (2016-S-97)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone:(518) 474-3271: Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236