Fair work and procurement

Fair Work First is the Scottish Government's flagship policy for driving high quality and fair work, and workforce diversity across the labour market in Scotland. We believe that a supplier's approach to fair work practices, can have a positive impact on the quality of goods, works and services in a public contract.

Measures such as Fair Work First 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:

  • payment of at least the real Living Wage
  • provide appropriate channels for effective workers’ 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
  • offer flexible and family friendly working practices for all workers from day one of employment
  • oppose the use of fire and rehire practices

Payment of at least the real Living Wage

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

Further information on the real Living Wage is available from the Living Wage Foundation

Support and guidance

We have published guidance covering fair work in procurement available on the Sustainable Procurement Tools website.

For any further information please email: scottishprocurement@gov.scot


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