Fair work practices and the award of public contracts : statutory guidance

Guidance to help public bodies evaluate fair work practices, including the Living Wage, when selecting tenderers and awarding contracts.


Please note: the contents of this page is currently undergoing a review. For further information on payment of the real Living Wage in a procurement process, please see the Fair Work and Procurement section of the Scottish Government website.
For information on Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurements, including an updated Fair Work First question, please see 
SPPN 06/2021. Please direct all questions to the

1. Public procurement is a key driver of policy development and service delivery which supports sustainable economic growth. As such the Scottish Government is committed to sustainable procurement practices that deliver positive outcomes. The delivery of high quality services can impact on users of public services and can help create a fairer, more equal society. Service quality levels are often critically dependent on the quality and engagement of the workforce through fair work practices for those engaged in delivering public contracts.

2. The Scottish Government believes that employers whose staff are treated fairly, who are well-rewarded, well-motivated, well-led, have access to appropriate opportunities for training and skills development, and who are a diverse workforce are likely to deliver a higher quality of service. Further, we hold that good relationships between employers and their workforce contribute to productivity and ultimately sustainable economic growth.

3. The Scottish Government considers the payment of the Living Wage to be a significant indicator of an employer's commitment to fair work practices and that payment of the Living Wage is one of the clearest ways that an employer can demonstrate that it takes a positive approach to its workforce. As a Government we are, and encourage others to be, a Living Wage Accredited Employer.

4. We expect contractors who deliver public contracts to adopt policies which demonstrate how they comply with relevant employment, equality and health and safety law, human rights standards and adhere to relevant collective agreements. We further expect contractors to have policies which describe how they adopt fair work practices for all workers engaged on delivering the public contract. Examples of the type of issues that could constitute fair work practices for the purposes of this guidance can be found at Annex A; these may vary depending on the nature of the contract.


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