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Written Statement - Employment Practices on Publicly Funded Projects Procurement Advice Note

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business

In March 2015 I issued a Procurement Advice Note (PAN) on ‘Employment Practices on publicly funded projects’ which was released to every public body in Wales to provide guidance to require fair employment practices on publicly funded projects. The PAN seeks to ensure that workers on publicly funded projects in Wales are treated fairly and with respect.

A Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains is being developed for public sector bodies, Welsh businesses and suppliers to the Welsh public sector to sign up to in order to support the development of more ethical supply chains.

The code will build upon the policy direction set out in both the Employment Practices on Publicly Funded Projects PAN and the Blacklisting in the Construction Industry PAN, which I issued in 2013.  The launch of the Code of Practice will provide an additional mechanism through which we can tackle the issues of false self-employment, unfair umbrella schemes and blacklisting, along with wider employment related issues, including unfair zero hours contracts and eliminating modern slavery. As part of our plans for regulating on procurement, we are exploring ways in which we can use designated powers to further embed our policies which support fair employment practices.

Whilst good progress has been made, incidents of poor employment practices are still occurring on our public projects.

The Welsh Government remains committed to eliminating this problem and I am pleased to be working in partnership with the unions on this matter. Together we have agreed to take the following actions:

  • A joint agreement is to be developed between Welsh Government and the Unions to give commitment to encourage sign up to the Code of Practice across the public sector, third sector and supply base;
  • The use of training as a means for promoting adoption of the Code of Practice will be explored. Initial training on the Employment Practices PAN will be considered ahead of the launch of the Code;  
  • A new protocol will be developed to drive adoption of the Employment Practices PAN. This will be based upon the good work undertaken within NHS Wales and will form part of the Code of Practice Toolkit; and
  • We will explore how our designated powers on procurement can make use of Article 18(2) of the EU Procurement Regulations to strengthen deployment of the Code of Practice where contracts relate to social and labour considerations.

The Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains is due to be launched later this year.