Equity Assessment Tool

by the City of Austin, TX for the TLG 2019 Innovation Showcase program

Dec 19, 2018

Theme: Reality Focused, Results Driven

The Equity Assessment Tool is a new strategy used in City departments to identify and address inequitable policies, practices, procedures, and outcomes. It has four assessment sections: department/institutional inequity, resource allocation, community engagement, and alignment with Austin City Council priorities.  

The tool was developed through a co-creative process with community members and city staff who are interested in promoting equity in the City of Austin through a collective called the Equity Action Team. This body of more than 100 individuals dedicated over 850 hours to this development process.

The City’s Equity Office began piloting the tool in the summer of 2017 with eight City departments (Courageous Eight): Human Resources, Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, Libraries, Transportation, Austin Water Utility, Public Works, and Austin Public Health. These eight departments volunteered to pilot the tool, and most had some familiarity with the purpose of the tool and equity concepts.

These eight departments are now entering the “Action Plan” phase of the Assessment, in which the Equity Office collaborates with them to identify at least three items identified in the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis of their department. The department then establishes actions to address these items, along with specific internal and external metrics to measure the action.  A further 13 departments are now undergoing Assessment as part of our second cohort, implementing process improvements and Tool refinements learned from the pilot cohort, with a third cohort planned for next year. 

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