Team Wales approach makes progress as new Bill is introduced to the Senedd
A new Bill to improve well-being and public services, through social partnership and socially responsible procurement has been introduced today by the Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn.
The Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill will put Wales’ successful social partnership approach onto the statute book.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has described social partnership as a “uniquely Welsh way of working,” which brings people, businesses and public service together to work towards a common goal.
The Bill will create a statutory social partnership framework at an all-Wales level by establishing a permanent Social Partnership Council for Wales, bringing together the Welsh Government, employers and worker representatives nominated by the Wales TUC.
The Bill places new social partnership duties on certain public bodies and on Welsh Ministers; promotes fair work in working towards well-being goals and socially-responsible public procurement.
It also aims to make Wales a stronger and fairer place to live and work by helping unite government, workers and public services towards a common vision of a prosperous, resilient, healthier, more equal, vibrantly cultural Wales, with a thriving Welsh language.
Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn, said:
“Social partnership is the embodiment of our Team Wales approach, which has stood us in such good stead over the course of the pandemic.
“Placing social partnership on a statutory footing is the next logical step for this uniquely Welsh way of working.
“The Welsh Government has a long-standing commitment to collaborative working and we want to future-proof social partnership to ensure future generations benefit not only from better work but also from strong sustainable public services.
“The tools in this Bill will help social partners work together in pursuit of the well-being goals contained in the Well-being of Future Generations Act.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“I am proud of this Social Partnership and Public Procurement Bill and I am particularly proud to say our trusted social partners from across the public and private sector and the trade union movement have been integral in getting this ambitious piece of legislation to this stage.
“I am also very pleased that it has been possible to bring it forward early in this Senedd term. I want to put on record my thanks to all those who have worked so hard together to make this possible.”
Designated Member Cefin Campbell said:
“Within our Co-operation agreement we have committed to explore how to set meaningful targets as part of a shared ambition to increase the level of public sector procurement of Welsh products and services. The Social Partnership and Public Procurement Bill will play an important part in delivering this ambition. We also hope to promote the purchasing of made-in-Wales products and services.”
Notes to editors
The Shadow Social Partnership Council
The Shadow Social Partnership Council (SSPC) has provided a unique opportunity to engage with Welsh Government on a range of strategic issues in response to the pandemic and has enabled social partners to advise Ministers and influence decisions as they are being made.
This means partners have played a vital role in shaping the type of preventative measures put in place by the Welsh Government to restrict the transmission of coronavirus. Social partners offered essential advice about how the vaccination roll-out was designed and implemented. This included advising on how the programme is tailored and delivered in the workplace taking account of the full range of complex ethical issues this raises.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The full text of the Bill is available here (add link)
The Bill has been in development since 2019 and has been the subject of extensive consultation and engagement with social partners, wider stakeholders, and the public.
In November 2019, the then Welsh Government published a White Paper: “A More Equal Wales: Strengthening Social Partnership”. That document made clear the Government’s commitment to strengthen social partnership arrangements in Wales and set out initial proposals for a new legislative framework. The consultation closed in January 2020. A link to the White Paper and a summary of the responses can be found here: A more equal Wales: strengthening social partnership white paper | GOV.WALES.
Building on the earlier White Paper, in February 2021, the Welsh Government published a draft Bill for consultation, alongside a draft Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment - Draft Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill | GOV.WALES