Social Partnership and Public Procurement Bill (Wales)

November 2022 – Thursday 1st June 2023

The new Bill focusing on Fair Work, but there’s no global responsibility?

The Senedd is considering a Bill on public procurement that would promote Fair Work in Wales. However, it is a missed opportunity as there is no mention of global responsibility in Welsh supply chains. Which is why we need your support to make sure the Bill is amended. This will ensure Welsh public bodies procure more Fairtrade goods. Find out below how you can help re-shape the Bill.

Why is procurement important to Fairtrade?

Fairtrade has been a hugely successful movement, creating conscious consumers since 1992 across the UK – with it now being the most recognised certification label. Globally responsible procurement is at the heart of what Fairtrade stands for. To procure Fairtrade goods means to stand in solidarity with farmers and workers and ensure trade and social justice throughout the supply chain.

Fairtrade is a system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. Fairtrade ensures that a minimum price is paid and that safe and fair working conditions are ensured. It also means greater respect for the environment and through co-operatives or workers’ committees women take an active role. The Fairtrade premium, an additional sum of money on top of the minimum price paid, is used to invest in projects for those communities and is agreed democratically.

Our vision at Fair Trade Wales is to see an equal world trading fairly. For us, it is important that we ensure public procurement legislation in Wales considers its global impacts as well as ensuring local supply chains are fair and equitable. So what exactly is the Social Partnership and Public Procurement Bill and what are we doing to ensure global responsibility?

Background of the bill & what we want

The Bill has come out of the Fair Work Commission to try and promote Fair Work in Wales, and suggests using public procurement as a way to promote Fair Work. With an annual procurement spend of £6.3 billion, the Welsh public sector has a huge role to play in helping to drive sustainable consumption and production – Sustainable Development Goal 12.

Through fair public procurement, public authorities can not only boost the demand of fair products, but they can also bring about cultural, organisational and systemic changes within their organisations and beyond.

The Bill provides an important opportunity to use the power of public procurement to deliver social, environmental, economic and cultural outcomes in support of Wales’ 7 well-being goals. This is particularly true for the achievement of the ‘globally responsible Wales’ goal which aims to make a ‘positive contribution to global well-being’.

The Bill doesn’t mention the possibility of securing Fair Work for those in the supply chains that come into Wales, and we think that this is a missed opportunity for global responsibility and social and environmental justice.

At Fair Trade Wales, we have been working on this Bill with a variety of other organisations, to ask that global, as well as local, responsibility is considered, particularly in procurement. It would be a real shame if Fair Work was limited to the borders of Wales when Welsh businesses have global supply chains.

The organisations we are working with to ensure global responsibility and social & environmental justice are:

Size of Wales;
Amnesty Wales;
Cytun;
WWF Cymru;
Oxfam Cymru;
WCIA.

Briefings

We responded to the Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee’s consultation on the Bill. See our input:

The committee have listened and suggested recommendation 12:

‘The Welsh Government should bring forward amendments to section 24(1) of the Bill so that it sufficiently considers the global responsibilities that public bodies have as well as those to their local area.’

We have produced a joint response on this:

Use our briefing as a tool to discuss the issue with your MS.

How can I get involved?

The Bill is currently in its first stage in the Senedd, which means a vote will take place to see whether Members of the Senedd (MSs) agree with the idea of a Social Partnership and Public Procurement Bill.

You can get involved by:

  1. Writing to your MS to explain why Fairtrade is important and to include global responsibility in the Bill.
  2. Attending your MS’s surgery to raise the Bill and ensure the inclusion of Fairtrade and global responsibility.
  3. Tweeting your MS or post on other social media channels about the Bill and tag your local politicians.

Upcoming dates:

  • 18 November – The Senedd Equality Committee will release a report on the Bill.
  • Week of 21 November – We are encouraging you to engage with your MS to discuss supporting global responsibility and Fairtrade in the bill.
  • 29 November – The Senedd will debate and vote in the Senedd on the Bill. If it passes, then amendments to the bill can be tabled before another vote.