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Welsh Government introduces Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill

The Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill, which is intended to embed the principle of social partnership in the operation of public bodies in Wales, has been laid before the Senedd Cymru.

The Bill establishes a statutory Social Partnership Council (SPC), creates new social partnership duties on specified public bodies in Wales, promotes fair work and creates a duty for socially responsible public procurement, Hannah Blythyn MS, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, said in a ministerial statement.

She added that the Bill was intended to complement other legislation, specifically the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFG Act 2015). 

Blythyn said: “Social Partnership is a way of working with shared values and a common purpose. Social Partnership works on the basic principle that more can be achieved by Government, employers and workers (predominantly through their trade unions) working together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.”

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The SPC, which will be made up of members representing the Welsh Government, employers and worker representatives nominated by the Wales TUC, will provide information and advice to Welsh Ministers on the full range of matters dealt with in other parts of the Bill.

The Bill also requires a public procurement subgroup of the SPC to be established that will provide additional expertise and support the SPC in the monitoring of the socially responsible procurement duties.

The social partnership duties will meanwhile apply to certain public bodies and to the Welsh Ministers.

Blythyn said: “The duty on public bodies will require them to seek compromise or consensus with their recognised trade unions or (where there is no recognised trade union) other representatives of their staff when setting well-being objectives and making decisions of a strategic nature to achieve those objectives under the WFG Act 2015.”

Other measures include a Socially Responsible Procurement duty that will apply to certain public bodies who will be required to seek to improve economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being when carrying out procurement, to set objectives in relation to well-being goals, and to publish a procurement strategy.

“Public bodies will also be expected to carry out contract management duties to ensure that socially responsible outcomes are pursued through supply chains,” the Deputy Minister said.

The socially responsible public procurement duties are intended to cover the full procurement cycle i.e. planning, procurement, contract management, review and compliance.

Public bodies and the Welsh Ministers will have reporting duties in relation to the social partnership duties and procurement duty.

A copy of the Bill and its supporting documentation is available here.

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