SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review on the Department of Health and Social Services, Statewide Suicide Prevention Council (council), June 4, 2012

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the activities of the council. The purpose of this audit was to determine if there is a demonstrated public need for the council’s continued existence and if the council has been operating in an effective and efficient manner. As required by
AS 44.66.050(a), this report shall be considered by the committee of reference during the legislative oversight process in determining whether the council should be reestablished. Currently, under AS 44.66.010(a)(7), the council will terminate on June 30, 2013, and have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

Overall, the council is operating in the public’s interest. The council actively seeks to broaden the public’s awareness of suicide as well as coordinates the efforts of other suicide prevention entities throughout the state. We recommend the council’s termination date be extended to June 30, 2019.

The council has experienced notable improvements since its organizational alignment with the Alaska Mental Health Board (AMHB), and the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ABADA). The AMHB and ABADA executive director’s leadership as well as staff support under the new structure are significant factors in the council’s improvements.

While the council’s current organizational structure has proven beneficial, there is no formal agreement in place to ensure the executive director’s time and abilities will continue to be shared effectively between AMHB, ABADA, and the council.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The council should, in accordance with statute, appoint its own coordinator and conduct annual performance reviews.
  2. The council should monitor meeting attendance and inform the Office of the Governor of poor member attendance.
  3. The council should develop and monitor performance measures that support statutory duties and annually report progress.