Posted: Fri 26th May 2023

New Welsh Act bolsters social partnership, fair work and public procurement

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 26th, 2023

A significant step forward has been made in the social partnership approach of Wales, as the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act received Royal Assent.

This law, the first to be given Royal Assent by King Charles III in Wales, enables workers to more directly influence policies, activities, and strategic priorities at the national government level and within certain public sector organisations.

The Act paves the way for the creation of a statutory social partnership framework and a permanent Social Partnership Council for Wales.

Embracing a ‘Team Wales’ approach, the framework will facilitate collaboration between the Welsh Government, workers, and public services, aiming to build a more robust and equitable nation.

This Act is also Wales’ inaugural primary legislation on procurement, obligating public bodies to deliver socially responsible procurement.

With an annual procurement expenditure of £8bn, the focus will now be on environmental, social, economic, and cultural well-being.

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership and Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn spoke proudly of the new law, emphasising its potential for instilling equality, fairness, and well-being in workplaces through collaborative efforts.

In addition to establishing social partnership duties on certain public bodies and Welsh Ministers, the Act will also amend the ‘A Prosperous Wales’ well-being goal within the Well-being of Future Generations Act to include fair work as a stated outcome.

First Minister Mark Drakeford echoed these sentiments, hailing social partnership as a uniquely Welsh way of working and attributing the advancement of work quality and employee rights to open dialogue.

Shavanah Taj, Wales TUC General Secretary, and Councillor Anthony Hunt, WLGA Spokesperson for Workforce, Finance and Resource, also welcomed the Act, highlighting its progressive approach and its potential to build better jobs, safer workplaces, and a dynamic economy.

The Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act marks a milestone in enhancing collective dialogue, valuing trade unions as essential partners, and placing workers’ voices at the heart of public policy in Wales.

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