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.

Guiding Principles

  • An employer's fair work practices can have a direct impact on the quality of service it delivers and, sometimes, of the goods it supplies and works performed.
  • Wherever fair work practices may be relevant to the quality of service or goods or delivery/performance of the contract, it is important that a bidder's approach to fair work practices is evaluated as part of the procurement exercise, both as it applies to the workforce that will perform the contract and any sub-contracting chain. Further guidance on evaluating fair work practices in public contracts is provided in paragraph 20 onwards.
  • Fair and equal pay, including Living Wage, is a positive factor and one of the clearest ways in which a bidder can demonstrate that it adopts fair work practices.
  • A contracting authority can contribute towards improving the social wellbeing element of its sustainable procurement duty under section 9 of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 ("the Act") by adopting policies to promote fair work practices in relevant public contracts.
  • Consideration of a bidder's approach to fair work practices must be a proportionate one, based on the nature, scope, size and place of the performance of the contract.
  • Contracting authorities must consider a bidder's overall approach to fair work practices and all bids must be treated equally. This should include consideration of all relevant evidence, including (but not limited to) recruitment, remuneration, terms of engagement, skills utilisation and job support and worker representation. A bidder's approach to fair work practices may vary depending on the bidder's size and the scope of the contract.


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