Disparity Study & Availability Study

Bexar County Disparity & Availability Study

The County wishes to learn the status of opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses (SMWBE) to participate in county contracts and undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that such businesses are afforded equal opportunity for participation. To that end, the County seeks a consultant or a team of consultants to conduct a Disparity & Availability Study.

What is this Disparity and Availability Study?

It is an evaluation of the procurement practices of Bexar County to determine business availability and utilization.

What is the purpose of the Disparity and Availability Study?

The purpose of this Study is to evaluate the County’s current programs to promote equal opportunity in the County’s procurement program to aid in diversification of the County’ vendor database, and assure equitable distribution of the County’s purchases. in a manner that accurately reflects the diversity in the available vendor pool.

Why has the County decided to conduct a Disparity and Availability Study?

The four main reasons the County has decided to conduct a Disparity Study are to accomplish the following:

  1. Identify the best practices that will help the County build a business program to stimulate local business economic growth and development
  2. Assure equitable participation of local, minority and women owned businesses in the County’ contracts and purchase orders
  3. Promote a sound fiduciary relationship with local businesses
  4. Reinforce social responsibility toward the local business community

How does the County benefit from this study?

There are many benefits of a Disparity and Availability Study. The three principal benefits for the County are the following:

  1. Utilize best practices to improve the procurement process
  2. Increase the number of bidders for the County’s contracts
  3. Lower procurement costs for the County

What guidelines exist to help direct the Disparity and Availability Study?

The Disparity Study will be guided by current case law.

How will the County identify businesses that are available?

The County desires to contract with a consultant who will conduct a broad-based, community outreach program and a search of the County’s contract records and trade and professional association lists to help identify businesses that are available.

What industries are being studied?

The Disparity and Availability Study includes an analysis and evaluation of current contracting practices within the industries identified by the North American Industrial Classifications System and the National Institute of Governmental Purchasers (NIGP) included in the areas of Goods and Services, Construction Services, and Professional Services.

Who is conducting the Disparity and Availability Study?

An RFP was issued January 23, 2019. All proposals are due March 8th. The consultant is expected to be hired no later than June 2019. The selected consultant will review the County contract records, identify market area businesses, interview County officials and business owners, and participate in the Business Community meetings.

How long will the Disparity and Availability Study take?

The study is estimated to be completed within nine (9) to twelve (12) months.

How can local business owners get involved?

Once a consultant is hired, local business owners can get involved in many ways, such as the following:

  • Take action by completing a business survey posted on the county website: www.bexar.org/smwbe
  • Participate in a telephone interview to share their experiences
  • Provide membership lists from local business associations

Who should be contacted by business owners seeking additional information?

For more information, contact the Bexar County Small Business & Entrepreneurship Department at (210) 335-2478 or send an e-mail message to [email protected].  Your information will be provided to the selected consultant.

Bexar County Disparity and Availability Study

The County wishes to learn the status of opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses (SMWBE) to participate in county contracts and undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that such businesses are afforded equal opportunity for participation. To that end, the County seeks a consultant or a team of consultants to conduct a Disparity & Availability Study.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the 2019 Bexar County Disparity and Availability Study is now available.
Click here for more information.

Disparity Study FAQ:

What is a Disparity & Availability Study?  

A Disparity Study determines whether a government entity, either in the past or currently, engages in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, and women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs). 

What is the purpose of a Disparity & Availability Study? Why is it necessary? 

The study is necessitated in part by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson. The court decision imposed legal requirements on jurisdictions to establish a “compelling interest” to support the establishment of a minority and women business program. 

What factors are considered in determining whether disparity exists? 

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/WBE is leveled 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 entity based on availability. Indices between 80 and 100 - which is close to full participation indicates underutilization though not significant. 

Has Bexar County ever conducted a Disparity & Availability Study? What were the results of the previous study?  

In April 2010, Bexar County engaged Mason Tillman Associates to  conduct a Disparity and Availability Study. The study was anticipated to  take 14 months. Data collection and analysis was completed in July  2011. A draft report was delivered to County staff for analysis and  review on November 2011. On September 18, 2012 staff posted an agenda item to present the  consultant's report and staff analysis for Commissioners Court  consideration.

According to the consultant's report, the available data did not allow the County to initiate a race-conscious program. The consultant reported some problems in gathering complete information, specifically regarding subcontractor information, and  reporting “…the county's data set is insufficient to identify disparity  in individual industries as required by case law, and there was no  evidence of discrimination.”

Commissioner Court received the final Disparity and Availability Study and directed County staff to develop a plan to be reviewed at a Court meeting for improved data collection, and to enhance race-neutral  strategies for small, minority, woman and veteran-owned business  enterprise participation in County contracting.

 What minority groups are being analyzed as part of the disparity study? 

The groups included in the study are:

  • Anglo/Caucasian/White
  • Black or African American
  • Asian
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Native American
  • The study will also evaluate utilization by gender