14/09/18, Cate Nelson-Shaw

Fair Work and Scotland's procurement landscape – how to spend it wisely and with most impact

Procurement, Fair Work, Investors in People, investors in young people

£11bn per year. That’s roughly how much organisations within Scotland’s public sector spend on procuring goods and services. Everything from health services to education services to leadership and organisational development services. And every single penny is public money, money earned from each and every taxpayer in Scotland; so it’s to be spent wisely.

Procurement guidelines govern the purchasing of these goods and services. Earlier this summer the Scottish Government published their best practice guidance for public bodies and suppliers on how to address Fair Work through a public procurement process.

Fair Work is one of the defining social, economic and political challenges we face as a nation – people are afraid that there aren’t going to be opportunities for them in the workplace and it’s causing concern and upheaval. Fair Work means access to good quality jobs for everyone. It’s about work that offers effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect; work that balances the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers; and work that generates benefits for individuals, organisations and society. It remains at the heart of the Scottish Government’s recently republished National Performance Framework.

And there are two elements to Fair Work that the Scottish Government is particularly interested in the real Living Wage and Accreditations.

The real Living Wage

The real Living Wage is currently estimated to be £8.75 per hour and is based on the cost of living in Scotland. Research by Living Wage Scotland shows that paying the real Living Wage helps businesses recruit and retain better staff, reduce absenteeism and encourage higher productivity. And the Living Wage accreditation celebrates employers that choose to go further than the government minimum – a mark that they estimate 93% of businesses say has improved their reputation.

Accreditations: Investors in People and Investors in Young People 

Whilst the Scottish Government admits there is no singular accreditation which reflects Fair Work in its entirety, accreditations which reflect aspects of Fair Work include Investors in People and Investors in Young People. So public bodies and suppliers to public bodies can support effective Fair Work practices by choosing to achieve one of these. Others include Scottish Business Pledge and Healthy Working Lives Award Programme.

The Investors in People accreditation has a heritage of nearly 30 years and is the foundation for a profitable and sustainable organisation. Ken Gray, Director of The Keil Centre says, “As our client and staff base have grown, we have used our Investors in People accreditation to optimise our efficiency and quality of service provision whilst retaining an engaged workforce”.

The accreditation recognises employer brands that are committed to looking after their people, engaging them and building trust; and it is the only international standard that aligns ambition and people – research tells us that nearly two thirds (57%) of organisations think Investors in People helps their staff be more productive. Its values lies in providing an independent and objective organisational review and in being a flexible and progressive framework tailored to individual needs.

Similarly too the Investors in Young People accreditation*. Developed in partnership with the Scottish Government it is a nationally recognised accreditation, that supports organisations as they seek to recruit, develop and retain a dynamic, young workforce. Its value lies in recognising organisations as an employer of choice, recognising practices and pathways that have positive outcomes for young people and creating a talent pool for the future.  And it has a social impact too, helping reduce youth unemployment.

95% of those involved with Investors in Young People say it is relevant to their organisation and as a result 93% of young people within these organisations feel value. “We wanted to spend time creating an experience that young people could benefit from” says Mark Smith former Head of Early Careers Strategy at Standard Life Aberdeen PLC. “Looking at how we could support young people, making sure our recruitment tools were fit for purpose, putting in place development tools to help them progress, well…we saw real practical value in Investors in Young People”

So if you are looking for a share of that £11bn Scottish public procurement wallet, consider what you will be including in your tender to demonstrate your alignment with the Scottish Government’s national outcomes.

* And this year in Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, we have up to 100% funding available for organisations to achieve the Investors in Young People accreditation – with only 3 months left until the end of the year, the clock is ticking.

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