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Wales’ successful social partnership approach, bringing workers, businesses and public services together has become law – as the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act gained Royal Assent.

First published:
24 May 2023
Last updated:

It is the first law in Wales to be given Royal Assent by King Charles III and means that workers will have a greater opportunity to shape policies, activities and strategic priorities at a national government level and in certain public sector organisations.

The new Act will see the creation of a statutory social partnership framework through a permanent Social Partnership Council for Wales.

This Team Wales approach will unite Welsh Government, workers and public services to work towards the common goal of a making the country a stronger and fairer place to live and work.

This Act also includes Wales’ first piece of primary legislation on procurement. Public bodies will be required to deliver socially responsible procurement, which means putting environmental, social, economic and cultural well-being at the heart of an £8bn annual procurement spend.

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn said:

“I’m very pleased and very proud to have delivered this important new law for Wales.

“We know that it’s only by working in partnership with workers, employers and businesses that we can make real changes which will embed equality, fairness and well-being in our workplaces.

“I want to thank our trusted social partners, and all who worked with us on the procurement duties, for their support in helping us to create this Act, which will make a real difference to people, to workplaces, and to Wales as a whole.” 

Social partnership duties will be placed on certain public bodies and on Welsh Ministers to improve the delivery of public services as well as social and economic wellbeing.

Social partners will be given the tools to work together in pursuit of the well-being goals contained in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. The Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act will amend the ‘A Prosperous Wales’ well-being goal so fair work is one of the stated outcomes.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Social partnership is a uniquely Welsh way of working. Making it law supports us on our journey of creating a stronger and fairer Wales.

“In Wales, we’re driving-up the quality of work and employee rights thanks to open dialogue. This is a country with a vibrant economy that values and safeguards our workforce.”

Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said:

“The Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act is a momentous piece of legislation.

“It moves beyond antiquated and insular models of governance and embraces a fresh, progressive approach that puts the voice of workers at the heart of public policy in Wales.

“By emphasising collective dialogue and working with trade unions to solve problems, the Act signifies a radical leap forward in government decision-making.  

“Through a commitment to fair work and recognising trade unions as essential partners, the Act creates the conditions for better jobs, safer workplaces, and a strong, dynamic economy.”

Councillor Anthony Hunt, WLGA Spokesperson for Workforce, Finance and Resource said:

“On behalf of Welsh local government, I welcome this progressive new Act which will further build on and strengthen the contribution social partnership makes to the work we do in Wales.

“As deliverers of local services, we are proud of our workforce and the role local government plays in close partnership with our trade unions to deliver for communities right across the country.”