Fair work and procurement

For further information on Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurements, including an updated Fair Work First question, please see SPPN 06/2021 or email scottishprocurement@gov.scot.

Fair Work is our policy for achieving a high-value, inclusive and sustainable wellbeing economy and is a key driver for achieving good-quality jobs. It is at the heart of our economic recovery and renewal, and a just transition to net-zero.

We believe that a supplier's approach to fair work practices, including paying the real Living Wage, can have a positive impact on the quality of goods, works and services in a public contract.

It’s also the case that measures such as Fair Work support the maximisation of social benefits through procurement, which is why the promotion of Fair Work First has been included as an objective in the Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland.

We expect public bodies to implement and promote Fair Work First in all relevant procurement processes. We expect suppliers delivering public contracts to adopt and demonstrate appropriate fair work practices, for all workers engaged in delivering the public contract.

Fair Work First encourages 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

*Real Living Wage as a requirement in procurement

We consider fair pay as a clear way that an employer can demonstrate a commitment to their workforce alongside wider Fair Work First criteria.

Payment of the real Living Wage to workers on public contracts can be applied by all Scottish public contracting authorities. It is possible to require the real Living Wage to be paid to workers on public contracts, where:

  • Fair Work First practices, including payment of the real Living Wage, is relevant to how the contract will be delivered
  • it does not discriminate amongst potential bidders
  • it is proportionate to do so
  • the contract will be delivered by workers based in the UK

The real Living Wage is a rate of pay that is enough to ensure that those receiving it can have an acceptable standard of living. The Scottish Government believes that all workers regardless of age and status should be paid at least the real Living Wage.

It is a voluntary wage rate that is calculated by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Independent Living Wage Commission. The rate is reviewed annually by the Living Wage Foundation.

Fair work procurement guidance

We have published the following guidance covering fair work practices, including the Living Wage, in procurement:

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