Scottish procurement policy handbook

This handbook provides guidance on the rules and policies that apply to the procurement activities of public bodies in Scotland and highlights some key legal obligations.

12. Fair Work First

Fair work is central to achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Fair Work First is a policy that aims to drive good quality fair work across the labour market in Scotland.

Fair Work First aligns with the Fair Work Convention’s Fair Work Framework and consists of the following criteria:

  • 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 practice.

Payment of at least the real Living Wage

The Scottish Government promotes payment of at least the real Living Wage as the minimum rate for everyone in paid work; this is not the same as the statutory National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage that are set by the UK Government.

It is possible to require the real Living Wage to be paid to workers delivering public contracts where:

  • it is relevant to how the contract will be delivered
  • it does not discriminate amongst potential bidders under international treaty obligations
  • it is proportionate to do so
  • the contract will be delivered by workers based in the UK.

Where a public body establishes that it can mandate payment of at least the real Living Wage to workers involved in a contract and has included payment of the real Living Wage as a requirement in the Invitation to Tender documents, the public body can exclude a supplier from further consideration where they have failed to confirm in their tender that they will pay staff involved in delivering the contract at least the real Living Wage.


Guidance on how to approach fair work practices, including Fair Work First, in procurement is available on the links below:



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