Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business
Welsh Government has taken the opportunity of using procurement policy where ever possible to support ethical, responsible business behaviour to help protect vulnerable suppliers and employees. The Wales Procurement Policy Statement is in place to ensure procurers take account of best practice when tendering public contracts.
Having issued guidance to ensure fair employment practices are deployed in publicly funded projects, I have continued to hear first hand of unethical practice taking place across Wales. Last month I committed to take action to promote our important guidance on this matter.
Today, in partnership with the Unions and public sector clients, I have set out my expectations on how employment should be approached for all publicly funded construction and infrastructure projects in Wales. I have communicated our plans to drive up ethical employment practice by promoting full adoption of our ‘Employment Practices on Publicly Funded projects’ Procurement Advice Note.
In May a programme of training and awareness events will commence for public sector clients and business to support adoption and provide access to information and guidance to deliver on this important issue. Welsh Government and our Union partners, alongside Constructing Excellence in Wales and other industry bodies, will work in collaboration with clients and industry to ensure publicly funded projects in Wales are a fair place to work.
I will continue to show how procurement can be used as a lever to influence responsible business behaviour. Following on from the Welsh Government’s stance on blacklisting and guidance on employment practices, a Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains will be developed. This Code will provide an additional mechanism for tackling the issues of false self-employment and unfair umbrella schemes, along with wider employment related issues, including modern slavery, blacklisting and zero hours contracts.
Public sector bodies in Wales, Welsh businesses and suppliers to the Welsh public sector will be expected to sign up to the Code.