The City of Asheville has released a Disparity Study report detailing its contracting and purchasing activities and practices for the past 5 years. A Disparity Study is a type of research study that is designed to assess whether there are disparities, or differences, in the participation rates and opportunities for various groups in a particular program or industry.
The goal of a disparity study is to identify any barriers or obstacles that may be preventing certain groups from participating fully, and to develop strategies to promote greater diversity and inclusion. The 2023 Disparity Study was a yearlong effort. Miller3 Consulting worked closely with all City departments and offices to perform a deep analysis of procurement and contracting. Now that the study is complete, this most recent disparity study provides the legal evidentiary basis for the City to extend a race- and gender-conscious contracting policy. Recommendations from the study are currently being reviewed by staff, who will report to the Equity and Engagement Council Committee as the implementation of strategies progresses.
The study was performed by Miller3 Consulting of Atlanta, Ga. Since conducting the country’s first disparity study in 1988, M³ Consulting has conducted disparity studies for over 125 federal, state and local public agencies. The vendor was given unfettered access to the City’s policies, procedures, and bidding, contracting and procurement data in order to perform the study. The City Council approved contract amount was for $287,275 and was increased by $34,473 in July for a total of $321,748.
The City was required to complete the disparity study in order for City Council to extend the Asheville Business Inclusion policy. Asheville City Council received a presentation on the disparity study at their October 24 Council meeting and accepted the report unanimously.
For more information, visit the Disparity Study