1. What is a Disparity Study?
A: Disparity Studies are commissioned by an agency to determine if there is disparity between the availability of firms owned by minorities and women in a market area and the utilization of those firms by an agency.
2. What is the purpose of a Disparity Study? Why is it necessary?
A: Disparity studies are used to determine whether there is evidence of discrimination in the market where SCS makes its procurement and contracting that would justify the use of race-based and/or gender based remedies. Such evidence is necessary to satisfy requirements for affirmative action set by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson.
3. What is anecdotal evidence and why is anecdotal evidence collected as part of the Study?
A: “Anecdotal evidence” is information that business owners provide about their actual experiences doing business, or trying to do business with SCS, its prime contractors/vendors, and in the private sector. Anecdotal evidence helps explain and lend credence to statistical findings that will come from the Disparity Study. Businesses in the market area will be randomly selected to participate in the in-depth interviews, and surveys. All interested businesses are openly invited to participate in public meetings to provide comments about their experiences.
4. Can SCS use the findings and recommendations from recent studies conducted in the area?
A: Unfortunately, no. Agencies must independently determine if there is factual predicate evidence for that agency to establish a race- and gender-based procurement program.
5. Why is it important that business owners participate in the study?
A: Business owners, both M/WBE- and non-M/WBE-owned, that do business or want to do business are impacted by the policies, procedures, and guidelines established as part of the SCS procurement and contracting processes. Participation in this study provides business owners the opportunity to give accounts of their experiences doing business with SCS or its prime vendors. Input from the business community may direct the findings and recommendations for future policy changes.
6. What factors are considered in determining whether disparity exists?
A: Disparity is calculated in the form of an index. The disparity index is a ratio of the percentage of utilization and the percentage of availability of M/WBE firms. If the disparity index is 100, the utilization of M/WBEs is equal with the availability of M/WBEs in the market area. If the index is less than 80, it indicates that M/WBEs are significantly underutilized by an agency based on availability of M/WBEs in the market area. An index between 80 and 100 – which is close to full participation – indicates underutilization, though not significant.
7. Who is conducting the Disparity Study?
A: MGT of America Consulting, LLC., a nationally recognized management and research consulting firm. www.mgtamer.com
8. What minority groups are being analyzed as part of the disparity study?
A: The groups included in the study are:
- African American
- Hispanic or Latino
- Native American