Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 6 Oct 2015
Part of:
Public sector

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

Fair work practices and the award of public contracts : statutory guidance
Annex A Fair work practices - sample Invitation to Tender Question

Annex A Fair work practices - sample Invitation to Tender Question

Please note: the content of this page is currently undergoing a review. For further information on Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurements, including an updated Fair Work First question, please see SPPN 03/2021 or email

Please refer to the example Fair Work First question in SPPN 03/2021 which updates and replaces the example Fair Work question that currently sits in the Statutory Guidance and Toolkit.

(Note: This question should be adapted to take account of the particular circumstances surrounding the goods, works or services being procured and to reflect those aspects of fair work practices which are relevant to the subject matter of the contract.)

The Public Sector in Scotland is committed to the delivery of high quality public services, and recognises that this is critically dependent on a workforce that is well-rewarded, well-motivated, well-led, has access to appropriate opportunities for training and skills development, are diverse and is engaged in decision making. These factors are also important for workforce recruitment and retention, and thus continuity of service. Public Bodies in Scotland are adopting fair work practices, which include:

  • a fair and equal pay policy that includes a commitment to supporting the Living Wage, including, for example being a Living Wage Accredited Employer;
  • clear managerial responsibility to nurture talent and help individuals fulfil their potential, including for example, a strong commitment to Modern Apprenticeships and the development of Scotland's young workforce;
  • promoting equality of opportunity and developing a workforce which reflects the population of Scotland in terms of characteristics such as age, gender, religion or belief, race, sexual orientation and disability;
  • support for learning and development;
  • stability of employment and hours of work, and avoiding exploitative employment practices, including for example no inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts;
  • flexible working (including for example practices such as flexi-time and career breaks) and support for family friendly working and wider work life balance;
  • support progressive workforce engagement, for example Trade Union recognition and representation where possible, otherwise alternative arrangements to give staff an effective voice.

In order to ensure the highest standards of service quality in this contract we expect contractors to take a similarly positive approach to fair work practices as part of a fair and equitable employment and reward package.

Fair work practices (xx%)

Q - Please describe how you will commit to fair work practices for workers (including any agency or sub-contractor workers) engaged in the delivery of this contract.

Answers need not be constrained to, or be reflective of any of examples given alongside this question.

Good answers will reassure evaluators that your company takes a positive approach to rewarding staff at a level that helps tackle inequality ( e.g. through a commitment to paying at least the Living Wage); improves the wider diversity of your staff; provide skills and training, and opportunities to use skills which help staff fulfil their potential; avoids exploitative employment practices ( e.g. in relation to matters such as the inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts); takes the engagement and empowerment of staff engaged on this contract seriously, including having arrangements in place to ensure trade union representation where possible; otherwise alternative arrangements to give staff an effective voice and that your company will demonstrate organisational integrity with regards to the delivery of those policies.

This reassurance can include a variety of practices which demonstrate your approach to fair work and should be tangible and measurable examples that can be monitored and reported during contract management procedures.

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