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Q. What is a Disparity Study?

A. A disparity study examines whether there are differences between:

  • The percentage of dollars woman- and minority-owned businesses received on an agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of dollars those businesses would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on the agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts (availability).

The comparison between the participation of woman- and minority-owned businesses in an agency’s contracting and the availability of those businesses to perform that work is referred to as a disparity analysis. In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies typically examine other quantitative and qualitative information about:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the implementation of woman- and minority-owned business programs;
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for women, minorities, and woman- and minority-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs the agency currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for consideration as part of the agency’s implementation of woman- and minority-owned business programs.

Q. Why is the District conducting a disparity study?

A. The District would like to assess its efforts to encourage the participation of underrepresented businesses in District contracting. In addition, the District would like to establish a benchmark for the participation of woman- and minority-owned businesses and determine what, if any, improvements are needed to optimize the District’s contracting processes.

Q. When will the disparity study be completed?

A. The study will be completed in April 2022. For the study schedule timeline, click here.

Q. What types of contracts are being studied?

A. The disparity study will examine prime contracts and subcontracts the District awarded from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020. The study will focus on construction, professional and non-professional services, and goods and supplies contracts and procurements.

Q. What will the District do with information from the disparity study?

A. Information the project team collects as a part of the 2021 District of Columbia Disparity Study will provide:

  • An independent, objective review of outcomes for women- and minority-owned businesses in District prime contracts and subcontracts. That information will be valuable to both District leadership and external groups that help assess the District’s efforts to encourage underrepresented business owners to bid on District contracts.
  • Information that is useful for setting a benchmark for the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses; and
  • Insights about how the District might improve contracting opportunities for local businesses and how it could better encourage the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses in the future.

Q. Will the results of disparity study be made public?

A. Yes, the results of the disparity study will be made public at the end of the process.

Q. How can I participate in the disparity study process?

A. There are several ways in which you can participate in the 2021 District of Columbia disparity study:

  • Share your experiences working in the local marketplace by emailing the project team directly at [email protected]
  • Join us for a community meeting where you can learn more about the disparity study process, submit verbal or written testimony, and ask questions. For details about the community meetings, click here.
  • If you represent a business working in the local marketplace, you may be contacted as a part of the availability survey process. If you are contacted, please help the project team by participating!
  • Call us if you have any unanswered questions about the study. For our contact information, click here.