Legislative auditor finds MNLARS reporting accurate, but offers recommendations for improvement

November 20, 2018 02:07 PM

The video above aired in September 2018 as lawmakers discussed another report that was released and is referenced in the one from the Office of the Legislative Auditor.

The Office of the Legislative Auditor has concluded the Department of Public Safety and Minnesota IT Services accurately reported "in all material respects" system slowdowns, outages and other performance issues in the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System quarterly update reports provided to the state legislature in April, June and September of this year.


The report finds the two state agencies "materially complied with provisions of the law that required them to develop and implement a communication plan for transparent reporting of any MNLARS system performance issues."

However, the report released Tuesday finds that those agencies, which are in charge of overseeing the beleaguered driver registration platform, which has struggled with bugs and errors since its launch in the summer of 2017, misreported a small number of system outages, have not clarified system availability expectations with stakeholders, did not report system performance statistics for all stakeholders and have monitoring tools that do not measure all end-user outages.

It recommends the following steps:

  • The DPS and Minnesota IT services should ensure that outage data they provide to the state legislature is accurate and complete. The report cited several instances when the system was unavailable that did not make the report, several for only minutes, but one for as long as seven hours. It also found the agencies erroneously reported June's outage total for July, documenting 85 minutes of outages when in fact there were none that month. Those errors were reportedly attributed to "clerical and administrative oversights" by agency staff.
  • That the DPS and Minnesota IT Services should formalize and update service level expectations. The report states the two agencies have not formally agreed on service level expectations since July 2012.
  • That DPS and Minnesota IT Services should track and report performance metrics for each service level expectation.
  • And that DPS and Minnesota IT Services should continue to evaluate better monitoring tools and put them into operation as warranted.

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A letter included in the report from Johanna Clyborne, the commissioner and state chief information officer for Minnesota IT Services, and Ramona Dohman, the commissioner of the Minnesota DPS, states that some of the hours claimed in the report to be misreported MNLARS system function outages were "in fact national vendor outages that impacted the legacy driver system known as E-Support. This vendor outage had no impact on the MNLARS vehicle system or the ability of deputy registrar's to perform vehicle transactions for customers, however it did impact some driver's license transactions."

It also states that "an updated service level agreement between DPS and MNIT is currently being finalized, as part of an enterprise-wide SLA refresh initiative involving all executive branch agencies." And that both agencies concur with the finding that a separate metric "should be provided going forward for 24-hour availability of the system for law enforcement use and online registration tab renewals. Such a metric will be incorporated in the upcoming December MNLARS Quarterly Report."

The report states both agencies agree with the recommendation that they continue their evaluation of better monitoring tools, citing new tools installed in October that will provide greater capability around end-user monitoring.

"Once fully configured, these tools will enable MNIT to detect when an individual deputy registrar office is experiencing internet connectivity challenges that prevent them from fully or efficiently accessing MNLARS and associated DVS systems," the letter reads. "With registrar offices employing a range of internet service providers at varying bandwidth and speed, we are hopeful these tools will provide helpful information to assist deputy registrars in identifying solutions that will increase the efficiency of their work in MNLARS and other DVS systems."

The letter concludes by saying both agencies remain committed to full transparency.

"We appreciate your efforts to validate and confirm the accuracy of MNLARS Quarterly Reports," the letter reads. "We are committed to full transparency as it relates to system performance information provided to the MNLARS Steering Committee as set forth in state statutes. We look forward to working with your team as you evaluate other performance measures reported in subsequent quarterly reports." 

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Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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