State of Colorado to Address Disparities in Procurement

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Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 - The Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration released findings today from the State of Colorado Disparity Study, which examines equity in Statewide contracts awarded to historically underutilized businesses.

The State of Colorado seeks to ensure that there is a level playing field for historically underutilized businesses to compete for State contracts. In 2019, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 19-135, which authorized a study of the utilization and availability of State contracts awarded to businesses owned by people of color, women, persons with physical or mental disabilities and members of the LGBT community.

The study conducted by Keen Independent Research found that, while the State has made strides in modernizing its procurement code and efforts to reach business owners within these communities, disparities continue to exist in the awarding of contracts to historically underutilized businesses. To eliminate this gap, the State will need to take a multi-year, phased approach and will require additional tools and resources.

The State will be developing long-term strategies to address the inequities and at the same time identifying opportunities for immediate action consistent with the study and Executive Order D 2020 175 signed by Governor Polis focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that directs the Department of Personnel & Administration to guide agencies in addressing systemic inequities posed by contracting barriers.

"Many of Colorado's fastest growing businesses are owned by minorities and women, and government contracts play a significant role in determining whether many of these businesses succeed," said Kara Veitch, Executive Director of the Department of Personnel & Administration. "We want to ensure that the talents and quality services inherent within these historically underutilized businesses contribute to the success of State government. We are dedicated to taking the findings of this study and work with our partners in the General Assembly and across State agencies to ensure we are truly building a Colorado for All."

The full study can be found on the State Purchasing & Contracts Office page.