“Equitable enforcement is a process of ensuring compliance with law and policy that considers and minimizes harms to underserved communities. An equitable enforcement approach means considering equity – both at the level of the public entity’s overall enforcement strategy and at the level of individual enforcement actions.” ―ChangeLab Solutions, Equitable Enforcement to Achieve Health Equity
Measure “equitable enforcement” by . . .
- Documenting opportunities to establish shared enforcement goals and processes, such as . . .
- Enforcement plans that are framed in terms of shared goals, based on community conversations, particularly with people whose lives are most affected by the policy (e.g., retailers and other business owners, residents, community groups)
- Enforcement tools that intentionally allocate the burden of compliance — for example, who gets fined for violations — to align with shared policy goals
- Ongoing opportunities for community members to engage with enforcement bodies in non-punitive situations (e.g., meetings, committees, review sessions)
- Data collection on issues and areas that may reveal unintended consequences related to health inequities — for example, disaggregated health outcomes by block or neighborhood
- Sharing of data and data analysis to facilitate community conversations that inform policy and process changes over time
- Prioritizing intentional and collaborative enforcement processes and mechanisms, such as . . .
- Collaborative processes for identifying effective, non-punitive enforcement measures
- Enforcement measures geared toward institutions/entities in power and parts of systems rather than toward individuals
- Graduated enforcement regimes with multiple non-punitive early steps
- Ranges of sanctions (e.g., those that use a sliding scale based on ability to pay)
- Multiple styles and opportunities for interactions between enforcement bodies and community partners to facilitate and incentivize compliance
- Ensuring thoughtfulness and accountability among and between enforcement bodies and community partners by, for example,
- Sharing enforcement responsibilities among a variety of coordinated enforcement bodies
- Creating opportunities for enforcement staff to periodically work with community members in multiple settings outside of direct enforcement activities
- Establishing, maintaining, and improving procedural guardrails for how, when, and by whom discretion related to enforcement may be used
- Providing enforcement training on the policy issue, its health equity implications, and its historical repercussions across different neighborhoods and demographic groups
Key Resources on Equitable Enforcement
- Hazarika Watts M, Hannon Michel K, Breslin J, Tobin-Tyler E, Equitable Enforcement of Pandemic-Related Public Health Laws: Strategies for Achieving Racial and Health Justice, American Journal of Public Health, 2021;111(3):395–397
- Roberts ME, Klein EG, Ferketich AK, et al., Beyond Strong Enforcement: Understanding the Factors Related to Retailer Compliance with Tobacco 21, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2021;23(12):2084–2090
- Tobacco Control Enforcement for Racial Equity — Decriminalizing Commercial Tobacco: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Enforcement of Commercial Tobacco Control
- ChangeLab Solutions, PUP in Smoke: Why Youth Tobacco Possession and Use Penalties Are Ineffective and Inequitable
Explore the Metrics
This list of sample metrics is one of several in our web tool Policy Process Evaluation for Equity, a collection intended to inspire conversation and new considerations among changemakers who are developing evaluation provisions and plans in policies to promote health equity. Each list highlights the importance of deepening our community partnerships, our use of data, and the way we communicate about our work throughout the policy process.
Explore other metrics for measuring the community impacts of policy partnership below. A downloadable version of this tool is also available for offline use and sharing.