Percentage of City departments implementing the equity assessment tool


The Equity Assessment Tool is the founding thrust of the Equity Office. In 2015, a coalition of community groups organized around the continued disparities for Black and Latinx residents in the City of Austin contrasted with the "Best Place to Live" awards Austin has and continues to receive from national reports.
In order to understand what the City of Austin was doing to create, and try to address these disparities, the community pushed for an equity assessment to be used to dig into every department and office in the City government. In the 2015 budget process, the Equity Office was created, to build and administer an Equity Assessment Tool. 
The goal for the Equity Office was to administer the pilot process and Tool to every department by the end of  September 2021. This measure tracks that progress, which has faced some challenges with departments who do not prioritize or see their role in equity, as well as the staff capacity required to coordinate across the 40+ department, 14,000+ employee City of Austin structure.
However, the Office is on track to accomplish this goal, and is excited by the lessons learned and relationships established to begin taking this work to a deeper level.


The Equity Office has approached working with departments in "Cohort" groupings, both to keep the scope of work manageable for staff, as well as to build cross-department relationships. These have been critical in informing best practice, and shared barriers.
There are 3 cohorts in total now, with 12-15 departments in each group. Depending on the group, the departments are at different phases of the work, as the process plays out in a year-on and year-off cycle.
For example, Watershed Protection spent 2018 and parts of 2019 completing the Assessment Tool and building out an Action Plan. Then, from 2019 through 2020 they went through and implemented the Action Plan, as well as organizing within the department to bring more staff into the work. Now in 2021, they will build on this work, and complete a more tailored Assessment Tool.
In this way, the Equity Office is building a continuous improvement process. The scale of the challenges in transforming institutions is intimidating, but the accumulation across departments of everyday decisions and changes in the same direction leads to major changes.
Note: to see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link to the left.

Additional Measure Insights

The Equity Office maintains a "Department Dashboard" for our work with each of the City's 44 departments. These dashboards include all materials from their Equity Assessments, staff demographics, Listening to the Workforce results, and the records of staff trained, as well as information on their alignment to the Strategic Direction.
To access these dashboards, please connect to the Equity Action Team, and scroll down to the Cohort lists. The Watershed Protection Dashboardis included as a non-interactive example below.

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition:  This measure counts how many departments have completed the Equity Assessment Tool.
2) Calculation method: A count of departments who have completed the Tool.
3) Data Collection Process:  This data is collected through the Equity Office's tracking sheet.
4) Measure Target Calculation: The target was established by the City Manager in mandating all departments complete the Equity Assessment Tool.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Fiscal Year)

Date page was last updated: December 2020