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.
In January 2022, the Governor issued an executive order for Equity in Public Contracting instructing all cabinet agencies to work with the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) to adopt more inclusive contracting practices. Agencies are now required to review, incorporate, and adopt, as appropriate, the Washington State Tools for Equity in Public Spending and to update their Agency Supplier Diversity Plans annually in coordination with OMWBE.
OMWBE is also implementing Access Equity, a statewide electronic data collection and monitoring system that agencies must use to track and measure the participation of certified minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses in state contracting and procurement. Access Equity will improve current data collection processes by tracking subcontractor spending in addition to spending with prime contractors. Subcontractor spending is a vital piece of information that has not been fully captured, historically. Improving the accuracy of Washington’s diverse spending data will allow agency contract managers to make informed, data-driven decisions as they forecast future contracts. This effort fulfills the #1 recommendation of the 2019 Washington State Disparity Study.