On the first day of the Biden-Harris Administration, President Biden issued Executive Order 13985 on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” (the “Order”). The Order outlines a whole-of-Government mandate to advance equity for all Americans through a comprehensive approach to all Government practices, including: management; policymaking (including through regulation and guidance); procurement, contracting, and budgeting; delivery of benefits and services; and data collection, reporting, and use, to tangibly improve the lives of every person across the nation, in particular, those who have been underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

The Domestic Policy Council (DPC) and the Office of Management of Budget (OMB) are facilitating the cross-Government implementation of the Order. OMB’s role includes consulting with agencies on assessments and plans, fostering a learning community among agencies and Executive Office of the President (EOP) components, and conducting a study of equity assessment approaches and tools, the subject of this report.

By August 8, 2021, agencies will complete and submit their equity assessments. This work involves both a “sprint” (to identify equity assessment methods appropriate to core agency services, in consultation with OMB) and a “marathon” (because assessments will identify needs and opportunities for equity-enhancing actions, sustaining programs, and new and updated policies, with a summary of agency next steps due in the form of agency Action Plans that agencies will submit to DPC in January 2022).

OMB’s study, obligated by the Order, includes three overlapping and integrated activities:

1) a review of professional expertise relevant to assessments of equity as well as an overview of promising assessment practices;

2) design of initial structures and approaches to guide and support agency equity assessments; and

3) an analysis of equity assessment activities undertaken by agencies at key milestones to support their final equity assessment products.

The findings of this study regarding the available methods for equity assessment include an appreciation that measurements of equity in the Federal ecosystem represent a still nascent body of work in public policy, data science, and organizational change management.

Publication Details
Access Rights Type: