Disparity Study

​The City has contracted Denver-based BBC Research & Consulting, a firm specializing in conducting disparity studies that assess how minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses are faring in the local marketplace, to analyze the City's contracting and procurement.
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​​disparity study adThe study is designed to provide a benchmark point. It will score the city on its efforts to encourage underrepresented business owners to bid on city contracts and help determine what, if any, improvements are needed to optimize the process. ​​

 
As a part of the first step in the research, business owners, trade association representatives and other interested parties are invited to attend one of three upcoming public meetings where BBC consultants will share information about the study and collect feedback from stakeholders about:

    • Current market conditions
    • Their experiences doing business in the region and working with the City
    • Any barriers or difficulties they've experienced when bidding on City contracts
    • Any race- or gender-based discrimination they may have encountered in doing business locally

 FAQ's

​​FAQs.pdf​​

 Telephone Survey

​The study team will continue conducting availability telephone surveys with businesses in the relevant geographic market area that perform work that is relevant to City contracting. The study team will also be conducting utilization telephone surveys with businesses that performed on a relevant City contract.  Availability and utilization surveys will continue through the summer of 2018. As part of those surveys, businesses will have an opportunity to share important information related to their business's characteristics; interest in working with the City; and experiences working in the local marketplace. Customer Research International (CRI) will be conducting those surveys on behalf of the BBC study team. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive analysis!

 Analyses

​​The crux of the disparity study will be to examine whether there are any disparities among: ​
  • ​The percentage of contract dollars that the City spent with minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses during the study period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of contract dollars that minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of City contracts (availability).

The disparity study will review contracts and procurements that the City awarded in fiscal years 2012 through 2017 (July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2017). The study will also examine other qualitative and quantitative information related to:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the City’s implementation of the SWaM Program; 
  • Marketplace conditions for minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that the City currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for the City to consider implementing to further encourage small business and minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned business participation.​

 Progress

​The City and BBC initiated the 2017-18 City of Virginia Beach Disparity Study in September 2017 with a series of in-person meetings with various City departments and representatives. BBC met with the City to introduce the study, answer questions, and begin the process of understanding contracting and vendor data that the City maintains.

Data collection and analysis. BBC began working with the City in September 2017 to collect data on contracts that the City awarded during the study period (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2017) as well as information about the vendors that participated in those contracts. The study team began analyzing data that it collected from the City to assess the subindustries that account for the majority of City contracting and the geographical area that is most relevant to City contracting.

Public hearings. The BBC study team conducted three public hearings in Virginia Beach: one on Monday, October 16, 2017; one on Tuesday, October 17, 2017; and one on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. During the public hearings, BBC presented information about the disparity study, answered questions, and solicited participants for verbal or written testimony that they would like to share regarding their experiences working in the local marketplace.

Availability telephone surveys. The study team began conducting availability telephone surveys with businesses in the relevant geographic market area that perform work that is relevant to City contracting. The study team began those availability surveys in February 2018 and will continue to contact businesses through the summer of 2018.

In-depth interviews. The study team started conducting in-depth interviews in March 2018. Interviews have been conducted with local business owners to collect insights related to experiences working in the local marketplace; starting or expanding a business; working with the City; and various other topics. Insights from the interviews are invaluable to helping the study team better understand local market conditions and to identify potential barriers that firms face when trying to establish or grow their businesses.

Next steps. BBC will engage in the following disparity study tasks in the coming months:

  • Public testimony, the study team will continue to collect written testimony from local business owners and stakeholders related to experiences working in the local marketplace. If you would like to share your insights, please email the study team directly at VBdisparitystudy@BBCresearch.com.
  • Availability telephone surveys, the study team will continue conducting availability telephone surveys with businesses in the relevant geographic market area that perform work that is relevant to City contracting.  Availability telephone surveys will continue through the summer of 2018. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive availability analysis!
  • Utilization telephone surveys, the study team will begin conducting utilization telephone surveys with businesses that performed on a relevant City contract. Utilization telephone surveys will continue through the summer of 2018. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive utilization analysis!
  • In-depth interviews, the study team will continue conducting in-depth interviews with local business owners to collect insights related to experiences working in the local marketplace; starting or expanding a business; working with the City; and various other topics. Insights from the interviews are invaluable to helping the study team better understand local market conditions and to identify potential barriers that firms face when trying to establish or grow their businesses.