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Equity and Social Justice

Equity and Social Justice

King County takes pride in being a place where all residents have the opportunity to thrive. Our Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan provides direction for how the county will take action to create shifts in how we govern, build our internal capacity, and intersect and coordinate with regional collaborators to become pro-equity.

Each department, including the Department of Executive Services, is charged with developing an implementation plan to meet each of the six goal areas in the ESJ Strategic Plan.

The DES Implementation Plan includes three parts:

  • Goals: High-level and aspirational, these DES Goals chart a path toward the shared vision.
  • Objectives: SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives help DES agencies measure progress toward each goal. Department-level guidance for ESJ Goal Area objectives will be modified and updated on a quarterly basis as we grow, learn, and make progress.
  • Short-Term Initiatives: to help meet the overall goals of the countywide ESJ Strategic Plan, DES will implement in phases, with specific initiatives identified to be completed by the end of 2018 or sooner. Many of the initiatives elevate some of the best practices already underway within DES.

Advance pro-equity practices and systems at all levels through accountable leadership and employees who are change agents.

  • Develop effective and accountable leadership for advancing ESJ to drive pro-equity governance at all levels of the organization.
  • Develop an organization where all employees are change agents who actively apply their ESJ knowledge to their work.
  • Visibly and publicly display progress on Equity and Social Justice.
  • County operations, programs and services are pro-equity in our service delivery - responsive and adaptive, focused on those whose needs are greatest - and collaborate actively with other DES Goal Area Teams.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • Generate accountability through performance appraisals. ESJ is incorporated into department director's appraisal for 2017 and into the appraisals for department deputy director and division/office directors' and deputies' appraisals by the end of 2017. Substantive, measurable progress by December 2018.
  • Baseline training for all staff in Equity and Social Justice is defined and underway at the department and division/office level by the end of 2017. Baseline training for all staff is substantially complete by the end of 2018.
  • Leadership actively empowers employees to collectively identify opportunities and propose actions to address inequities within their communities of practice. Evidence of employee engagement and empowerment is evidenced in division/office action plans by August 2018.
  • Tier 4 Board includes ESJ goals and measures by Q1 2017. Tier 3 Boards include ESJ goals and measures by end of 2017. Substantive, measurable progress by December 2018.
  • DES schedules opportunities for goal team interaction and collaboration. Department level work pro-equity collaboration and focus is highlighted in our work products.

Promote accountability to ensure our plans, policies, and budgets incorporate our equity and social justice values so that we equitably address the needs of our communities.

  • Department and agency business plans, including line of business and other planning processes, include analysis of equity impacts from their operations, services, and programs, as well as equity targets and measures of progress.
  • Policy guidance incorporates the ESJ Shared Values from the Strategic Plan into analysis and decision-making for operations and service delivery.
  • Budget decisions, rates, and allocation, including the base budget, reflect the values and strategies of the ESJ Strategic Plan and are tied to ESJ outcome measures and tracked.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • Tools in effective use in at least one major policy, planning, and budgeting and facility siting decisions.
  • Identifying who would most benefit from using the tools and work with people as to when and how to use them.
  • Assess employee familiarity with ESJ tools:
    • Equity Impact Review Tool
    • Community Engagement Guide
    • Digital communication strategies

Invest in having a pro-equity organization and workplace culture for every employee, driven by a racially diverse and culturally responsive workforce at all levels.

  • Equitable and Inclusive Workplace Culture: Require and sustain a daily workplace culture where every employee experiences trust and respect, is treated with dignity, and feels engaged and confident to perform well.
  • Equitable Workforce Development: Systematically develop and retain a more racially diverse and culturally responsive workforce at all levels: leadership, management, and staff.
  • Equitable Employee Development and Access to Opportunities: Establish a shared commitment, resources, and support - between leadership, managers, staff, and labor - to grow every employee's talent through training, development, coaching, and mentoring.
  • Equitable Access to Decision-Making: Build an organization of shared decision-making and shared responsibility between staff, managers, leadership, and labor partners that is grounded in consistent and effective communication, accountability, and transparency.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • Increase transparency and access to training opportunities
  • Determine an assessment tool for supervisors and managers where direct reports can give feedback on their management performance
  • Employees that have limited access to training have a development plan and discussion of growth opportunities
  • Succession Planning growing internal talent:
    • Bridge Program
    • RALS/DES deputy director fellowship
    • ESJ Ambassador Programs within DES divisions
      • DES Intra-Departmental Team
      • Employee Giving Program
  • Partner with Employee Giving Program coordinator to establish school-to-work pipeline
  • Hiring policy to increase transparency:
    • Include best practices
    • Cultural training and countering bias narrative
    • Special duty/TLT posting with exception policy
    • Screen-in practices for internal applicants

Invest in community-based partnerships that will steadily inform King County's decision making and foster full and equitable civic participation.

  • Systemically provide resource support to community-based organizations to leverage their expertise toward advancing ESJ outcomes.
  • Expand and promote diversity among applicant pool by creating pro-equity contracting processes that are visible and accessible to contractors of varied size and capacities, consistent with state and federal law.
  • Provide non-monetary support to community-based partners that build their internal capacities.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • Gain a better understanding of what partnerships have already been formed between community-based organizations (CBOs) and DES divisions and offices
  • Provide training, access, and information for businesses to become certified vendors with King County
  • Work with Employee Giving Program to ensure resources such as facilities and meeting space are more accessible to CBOs
  • Ensure CBOs are included in planning and that King County is proactively reaching out through specific distribution lists, using appropriate tools such as the Community Engagement Guide

Advance our education and communication to better engage our residents and communities in ways that are inclusive, culturally responsive, and socially just.

  • Language Access: As one in five King County residents speaks a language other than English at home, or is limited-English speaking (LES), update department tools for public-facing communications and education to align with current populations, needs, and demographic changes.
  • Engagement Access: Develop tools for better engaging with DES services and opportunities for input on King County projects and initiatives, regardless of neighborhood, immigration status, or primary language used for communication; and improve engagement by increasing capacity-building outreach and marketing buys with smaller, community-based organizations and media outlets.
  • Technological Access: Given the digital divide, and that many communities rely on mobile devices to bridge that gap, improve the collaborative use of mobile-optimized web pages and social media as an engagement, outreach, and feedback tool for the public.
  • Improved Collaboration and Language-Related Tools and Resources for Employees: Improve collaboration and language-related tools and resources for employees to provide more services to those who are LES and include more of the community's voice in the policy-making process.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • All DES Communications Plans include Equity and Social Justice considerations as part of standard work
  • To the extent technically feasible, ensure videos produced by DES have closed captioning
  • Review, update, and promote King County stylebook, graphic guidelines, and social media/digital engagement guidelines to ensure consistent brand voice across diverse audiences
  • Voiance (phone interpretation service) training for all employees who provide direct service to the public
  • Translate home pages of every DES division/office on into top six languages, as well as the pages of key services provided by that division/office

Develop facility and system improvements responsive to the values and priorities of residents and stakeholders and achieve pro-equity outcomes.

  • Infrastructure system master plans, including line of business and other strategic planning processes, include clear objectives to advance equity and social justice that are informed by and sensitive to priority populations and key affected parties.
  • Capital development policy, budgets, portfolios, and programs are developed in accordance with community equity priorities, informed by a perspective on historic and existing inequalities, and include a description of their contribution to improving equity in community conditions.
  • Activities and responsibilities for pro-equity progress are clear and defined at the division (Tier 3) and section (Tier 2) levels.
  • County operations, programs, and services are pro-equity in our service delivery - responsive and adaptive, focused on those whose needs are greatest - and collaborate with other King County external service providers.
2017-2018 Initiatives
  • Major Maintenance Reserve Fund (MMRF) Projects
    • Incorporate ESJ when prioritizing MMRF projects. This may be difficult as projects are funded when the repair needs to made, regardless how it affects ESJ
    • Analyze how ESJ is factored into the project selection process
  • Control Account Plan (CAP) forms for project managers
    • Use CAP form Equity and Social Justice Impact narrative question to clearly explain proposed project linkage to ESJ goals
    • Discuss content with Performance, Strategy, and Budget Office to ensure ESJ is being factored in when developing and finalizing project proposals
    • Develop support and training materials so project managers can authentically fill out the form
  • MMRF Plan - Master Plan and Infrastructure
    • Update MMRF plan so that it addresses pro-equity future state
    • Evaluate criteria as to the implicit ESJ assumptions, for example explore correlation between FCI and location, use, funding source
    • Examine effects of prioritizing ESJ over other criteria - would investment decision change?
    • Incorporate ESJ into FCA Evaluation process and document in General Process section of FCA Report
    • Cross-walk "mission critical" with ESJ framework
  • Civic Campus Plan
    • Vision and guiding principles will support future pro-equity state
    • Development of project management plan that identifies ESJ tools and processes. Use Community Engagement guidelines, Equity Impact Review Tool, and CWG6 PEFS approach if available and applicable
    • Develop the methodology to correctly apply ESJ to operational forecast


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