Fair work action plan: annual report

This annual report provides an update on progress achieved on actions within the Fair Work Action Plan since its publication in 2019. It also sets out our future priorities for continuing to advance our Fair Work agenda across Scotland as part of our economic recovery and renewal.

3.13. Mainstreaming Fair Work In The Scottish Government

Our commitment

A Scottish Government Fair Work Champion will be appointed to promote Fair Work across Directorates within the Scottish Government. Furthermore, each Directorate will be asked to develop Directorate-level Fair Work Action Plans, which set out the actions that are currently being taken or planned to mainstream Fair Work into policy areas and activities specific to the Directorate, and to develop a strong Directorate-specific Fair Work narrative.

We will also work with the Fair Work Convention to develop and implement a coherent and collaborative Fair Work narrative and communications strategy, which captures the essence of Fair Work in practice.

What we have achieved

Scottish Government Fair Work Champion

The Fair Work Interim Director has taken on the role of the Scottish Government's Fair Work Champion. This involves: being the face of Fair Work both within the Scottish Government and externally promoting a cross-portfolio strategic approach to embedding and mainstreaming Fair Work across the Scottish Government and the wider public sector; and encouraging employers and other stakeholders to support our policy ambition and adopt Fair Work practices.

Directorate-level priorities for Fair Work

The Minister for Fair Work has written to all Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers reiterating the expectation – endorsed by the First Minister – that Fair Work must be owned and progressed within all relevant portfolios. This message is being reinforced through regular dialogue with Ministers and permeated through Ministerial policy teams accordingly. The Scottish Government's Fair Work, Employability and Skills Directorate has developed a focused Directorate Fair Work Action Plan setting out the vast range of action it will take to advance Fair Work. However, our Scottish Procurement and Property Directorate, People Directorate and Mental Health Directorate have chosen to embed their Fair Work priorities within their wider Directorate Business Plan. In each case, progress will be monitored by individual directorates through their business planning arrangements.

An important area of activity has been to ensure Fair Work is prominent in key new and refreshed strategies, action plans and delivery frameworks across the range of Ministerial portfolios. As such, we have worked closely with colleagues across the Scottish Government to ensure Fair Work is at the heart of policy thinking wherever a workforce is required to deliver policy outcomes. We have also highlight where Fair Work First criteria can be applied to drive Fair Work practices, using our public sector investment to leverage employers' support. In doing so, we have influenced a range of priority developments, including; the Future Skills Action Plan; Population Action Plan; Young Person's Guarantee; the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Framework; Housing to 2040 Strategy; the Manufacturing Recovery Plan; Trade Vision; our Green Recovery and Scotland's proposed Green Ports model, and the Scottish Government's support for City Deals and Community Wealth Building approaches.

Fair Work was also a key consideration in the development of the South of Scotland Enterprise and the new Scottish National Investment Bank. Ministers took the unprecedented step to include Fair Work in the legislation for South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), the new agency established in April 2020. Accordingly, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy will write to the Chief Executive Officer of SOSE by the end of April, setting out a Fair Work Direction for the agency, recognising the critical role for the new agency in advancing this crucial agenda across the south of Scotland. This approach provided a blue print for including Fair Work in the legislation for our new Scottish National Investment Bank, launched in November 2020. The SNIB is committed to driving Fair Work practice through its investment in businesses across the country.

To support these new bodies to deliver our Fair Work ambition, the appointment of the relevant board chairs sought to ensure the individuals appointed have an understanding of and commitment to Fair Work.

On 8 October 2020 we published 'Mental Health – Scotland's Transition and Recovery', which outlines our response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. This Plan sets out over 100 actions to support good mental health and wellbeing as we recover from the pandemic and look towards recovery. It addresses the challenges that the pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on the population's mental health.

Fair Work in the South of Scotland

"South of Scotland Enterprise launched officially on 1 April 2020 as the new Economic and Community Development Agency for Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders. SOSE is the first of Scotland's public agencies whose legislation promotes a wider view on the economy and how it impacts all we do. It is also one of the first to have 'Fair Work' included in its legislation and running through all of its activities. SOSE has the ability to nurture diverse thinking from the region's distinct communities and rural economy. With a clear Fair Work direction and this important agenda sitting at the organisation's heart, we will maximise the scope to provide investment and expertise to businesses across the region to support secure, fulfilling, rewarding jobs with respect and opportunities for all."

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism

We know that meaningful, fair work can provide important benefits for people's mental health and wellbeing. We also know that creating workplaces which support and promote good mental health, benefit both individuals and employers. That is why we have recognised employment as a key theme with our Transition and Recovery Plan. In our Transition and Recovery Plan we have committed to working closely with stakeholders, including trade unions and employer groups to promote mentally healthy workplaces where mental health and wellbeing is meaningfully discussed, supported and promoted. This also supports our priorities around creating fair, diverse and inclusive workplaces, where stigma and discrimination are addressed. The Plan also includes a commitment to enhancing guidance for home working. We will work with employers, disabled people's organisations and trade unions to mitigate the potentially negative impacts of home working on mental health and to support employees through the wider transition as workplaces and offices begin to reopen.

Ministerial Working Group

A Ministerial Working Group was established in 2019 to oversee delivery of the Fair Work, Gender Pay Gap and Disability Employment Action Plans and our race employment priorities. Chaired by the Minister for Business and Fair Work, the Group is playing an important role in keeping Fair Work prominent in the thinking of all Ministers and the respective policy teams. The other members of the Group are: the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government; Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport; Minister for Older People and Equalities; Minister for Children and Young People; Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands; Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Minister for Community Safety; Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science; and Minister for Public Finance and Migration.

Our future priorities

  • We are supporting the Fair Work Champion to maximise his influence for advancing our Fair Work priorities across the Scottish Government and through our strategic partners and stakeholders externally.
  • We are continuing to engage with policy teams across Ministerial portfolios to mainstream Fair Work within all relevant business areas and embed Fair Work practices within the sectors and organisations we engage with and support.
  • The Ministerial Working Group is maintaining its focus on the delivery of our Fair Work priorities, challenging progress and prompting further action where it is required. Membership of the group will be reviewed as priorities evolve to ensure there is appropriate coverage of key issues at all times.
  • The importance of Fair Work within public bodies will be promoted across areas of the Scottish Government with sponsorship responsibilities and relevant Board Chairs, with a strong recommendation for the recruitment process for prospective chief officers to seek assurance that candidates have a commitment to advancing Fair Work within the body's functions, where this is appropriate.
  • We will keep abreast with the Fair Work Convention's Construction Inquiry and in due course reflect upon their findings and work with Scottish Government construction colleagues to agree and progress relevant recommendations.
  • We will progress the employment-related actions in the Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan, aiming to promote mentally healthy workplaces where mental health is meaningfully discussed, promoted and supported, and where stigma and discrimination are addressed.



Email: Katie.Irvine@gov.scot

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