In order to improve outcomes and eliminate disparities, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is shifting its entire contracted client services portfolio to performance-based contracts, a key priority in the agency’s 2021–2026 Racial Equity and Strategic Plan. The project intentionally focuses on deepening stakeholder engagement, using Performance-Based Contracting as a tool to identify and address disproportionality and outcome disparities, and facilitating continuous improvement through data and research. DCYF has successfully initiated the shift in over 70% of its portfolio, which includes over 1,000 contracts that invest approximately $1 billion each biennium in services to children, youth, and families.
Statewide, the Department of Enterprise Services has provided a series of enterprise contracts and procurement trainings that include performance-based contract practices. This is required training for all employees who manage, monitor, or serve as subject matter experts on contracts. As of May 2021, more than 30,000 state employees have taken the full five modules of this training.
Annually, the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) collects inclusion plans from State agencies, which specify steps agencies plan to take to make contracts and procurements accessible to minority- and women-owned small businesses. OMWBE encourages agencies to eliminate barriers by planning and forecasting their needs early so they can lengthen solicitation timelines, use inclusive practices such as unbundling contracts, and reviewing and updating experience, bonding, and insurance requirements.
Since 2015, the Governor’s Subcabinet on Business Diversity has been working to increase small, minority, women’s, and veteran business participation in State contracting and procurement. This effort is supported by the 2019 Washington State Disparity Study. Agencies forming the Subcabinet, led by OMWBE, have implemented recommendations from the disparity study in joint collaboration to lead agencies on the path toward equity. Tools for Equity in Public Spending and the Business Diversity Management System will provide tools that support the economic vitality of Washington State by ensuring all businesses have competitive access to public bidding opportunities in a variety of different industries. Implementing these tools is critical to the state’s efforts to eliminate discrimination and help all sectors of the state economy thrive. Additional tools will be added periodically to ensure contract specialists have access to up-to-date, comprehensive information to guide their inclusive spending efforts.