Fair Work First guidance

Fair Work First guidance for organisations seeking and awarding public sector grants, contracts and other funding – applies to grants awarded on or after 1 July 2023 and eligible agriculture grants awarded on or after 1 April 2024.

Purpose of the Fair Work First Guidance

Who the guidance is for

This guidance is intended for those who are involved in awarding public sector grants, other funding and public contracts as well as those who receive funding through public sector grants, sponsorship arrangements with the Scottish Government and/or are involved in the delivery of contracts. In this regard, public bodies and public sector partners should give due regard to their dual role as an employer and in administering public funding.

Throughout the guidance, the terms 'employer', 'business' and 'organisation' are used interchangeably to describe the range of private, public and third sector organisations within the labour market and to which Fair Work First can be applied.

What the guidance aims to achieve

It is designed to encourage and support employers to adopt fair work practices within their organisation, focusing on the Fair Work First criteria.

Through Fair Work First, the Scottish Government is primarily interested in the action the employer is taking to deliver high quality and fair work, and workforce diversity. While Fair Work is relevant for all employers and all workers, the context in which it can be applied will vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the organisation and the sector and location in which it operates.

The guidance aims to help organisations to identify and progress their fair work priorities as part of a continuous improvement approach and to demonstrate that they are meeting the criteria, including the conditionality in public sector grants. It provides direction on how the Fair Work First criteria can be adopted, providing scope for organisations to do so in a way that is relevant and proportionate to the activity and/or contract they have agreed to deliver.

Learning from good practice

The guidance provides examples of what the Fair Work First criteria means in practice to guide organisations in their approach. Employers should not feel limited in considering how workplace practices can be strengthened to enhance workers' experiences at work.

Note To User:

This updated guidance reflects the strategic context set in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (1 March 2022) and the new requirement (announced 6 December 2022) for all grant recipients awarded a public sector grant on or after 1 July 2023 to pay at least the real Living Wage and provide appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice.

This conditionality does not apply retrospectively to public sector grants awarded before 1 July 2023.

This conditionality will apply to recipients of eligible agriculture grants awarded on or after 1 April 2024 (Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate will advise the sector which grants are within scope in advance).

The Scottish Government expects public sector grants awarded before 1 July 2023 which involve multi-year funding to incorporate this conditionality as part of the grant agreement for any subsequent funding years for the project concerned.

Users should use this updated guidance to plan for and award grants on or after 1 July 2023.


Email: FairWorkCommissioning@gov.scot

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