Proposed new Bill casts sector as ‘junior partner’

Proposed new Bill casts sector as ‘junior partner’

Published : 30/04/21 | Categories: Influencing |

WCVA has responded to Welsh Government’s recent consultation on the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill.

This new Bill seeks opinion on how to use legislation to implement the recommendations; sets out provisions to establish a system of fair work objectives to ensure a consistent approach to good, safe employment; sets out measures to ensure public procurement is undertaken with consideration to social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being; and sets out socially responsible procurement objectives. The sector, as providers of public services across the country, has a huge stake in how these services are procured – particularly as we work towards a recovery from the pandemic.

In our response, we comment that:

  • We support the Bill’s aim to ‘ensure that ‘workers delivering public services can work in fair, safe, healthy and inclusive environments, receiving fair reward and having their rights respected’, but there is much work to do to achieve this.
  • The social partnership principles of the Bill should include a commitment to co-production, sustainability of services and the green recovery.
  • The priority for the Bill must be providing opportunities for fair work to those most disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • Single-year funding for sector organisations often leads to insecure work for staff, which is fundamentally unfair. This must be addressed.
  • Public bodies’ procurement strategies must be required to show they will benefit communities.
  • A single voluntary sector representative on the Social Partnership Council – contrasted with three each for the public and private sectors and nine for trade unions – is insufficient. The sector deserves a greater voice. The current structure makes it appear the sector is a junior partner. The balance of power here is wrong.
  • Giving such a large say on the Council to Trade Unions risk losing the voices of all those who are not members of Trade Unions, including many from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities.
  • A key lesson from the COVID-19 response has been to reduce bureaucracy, but this Bill is at risk of adding to it.

You can read our full response here.

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