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New Scottish Procurement Policy Note: Fair Work First has been expanded from 5 elements to 7 elements in Scottish Public Procurement (6/2021)

Scottish Procurement has issued a new Scottish Government Policy Note 6/2021 detailing that the Fair Work First criteria has been expanded from 5 elements to 7 elements. This Scottish Procurement Policy Note (SPPN) explains the change and how it can be implemented in procurement processes. This policy note supersedes advice contained in SPPN 3/2021 – Implementation of Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurement, which was published on 15 March 2021, and has now been withdrawn.

The key points are:

  • Fair Work is central to achieving the Scottish Government’s priority for sustainable and inclusive growth, and as we transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic and into a period of economic recovery and renewal, Fair Work is more important than ever and must be at the heart of employment practices, funding and procurement.
  • in August 2021 Ministers announced the expansion of Fair Work First to include two new elements designed to tackle specific labour market issues.

Fair Work First asks businesses bidding for a public contract to commit to adopting the following:

  • appropriate channels for effective voice, such as trade union recognition
  • investment in workforce development
  • no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts
  • action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • providing fair pay for workers (for example, payment of the real Living Wage)
  • offer flexible and family friendly working practices for all workers from day one of employment
  • oppose the use of fire and rehire practices.

The Fair Work First criteria should be applied to public bodies regulated procurement processes, where relevant and appropriate to do so. For example, in service, goods and works contracts, where the way the workforce are engaged will impact on the way the contract is performed and where the workforce makes a significant contribution to the way the contract is delivered.

The existing Fair Work in Procurement guidance, the Statutory Guidance, Best Practice Guidance and the Toolkit, is still relevant and is being updated to reflect the focus on the seven Fair Work First criteria.

SPPN 6/2021 can be read in full on the Scottish Government website.

SDP Scotland

The Supplier Development Programme has issued previous communication regarding SPPNs which can be viewed on the SDP Scotland website. Fair Work is embedded within SDP's training materials, and our course materials have been updated to ensure suppliers are prepared for how Fair Work First will affect public sector procurement.

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