• Governance Documents
  • 22 March 2024

1. Fair Work First

Fair Work First is the Scottish Government’s flagship policy for driving high-quality and fair work, and workforce diversity across the labour market in Scotland. The Fair Work Convention’s Framework defines Fair Work as work that offers effective voicefulfilmentopportunityrespect and security.

2. Fair Work First criteria

The Fair Work First criteria align with the dimensions of Fair Work, and are focused on:

  • providing a decent standard of living and income
  • offering security of contract, including hours and earnings; other entitlements including sick pay and pension
  • fostering an environment where workers’ views are actively sought, listened to and can make a difference, including through a stronger role for trade unions
  • giving opportunities for all to learn, develop and progress
  • creating a healthy and safe environment, where individuals’ wellbeing is actively supported
  • enabling people to have a good work-life balance
  • supporting people to feel valued and respected and that they have a sense of purpose in work and wider society
  • creating fair, diverse and inclusive workforces, and
  • promoting innovation and productivity

3. ESS' commitment to Fair Work First

Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) is committed to advancing the principles of the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First policy and embedding all aspects of Fair Work into our day-to-day operations.

Payment of at least the real Living Wage

  • ESS is a Living Wage accredited employer

Appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice, such as trade union recognition

  • ESS has signed recognition agreements with three unions – FDA, PCS and Prospect – and provides information on membership and the support available from trade unions
  • ESS has procedures and support mechanisms in place to support employees in the workplace and has zero tolerance of bullying and other forms of abuse and harassment
  • ESS contracts a third party for HR support and provides an external avenue for staff to seek support and advice, and to provide feedback in exit interviews
  • ESS encourages cross-team working in the development of key policies, including coordinating all-staff workshops and establishing working groups
  • ESS staff have regular engagement with both their line managers and the Executive Team via: weekly all-staff meetings; regular all-staff days; team meetings; monthly one-to-ones; and both in- and end-year appraisal reviews
  • ESS gathers staff feedback via bimonthly pulse surveys on diverse subjects, such as learning and development, wellbeing, culture, etc. Feedback is discussed and actions agreed at Executive level
  • ESS also issues an annual survey to understand staff engagement within the organisation

Investment in workforce development

  • new ESS staff are supported with a detailed induction to the organisation and the Civil Service, and through probation processes
  • ESS staff are required to undertake mandatory training in key topics and refresh this training regularly
  • ESS provides each member of staff with a designated learning and development budget, which can be used to attend external training courses and conferences and to join professional membership bodies
  • ESS encourages its staff to engage in volunteering, allowing six days of leave for this purpose
  • ESS holds regular all-staff days which often include training opportunities, for example in equality and diversity, and informative presentations from external parties
  • ESS is developing a People Strategy which will detail its commitment to developing its staff and its workforce planning
  • ESS works with external organisations to participate in work placement and mentoring programmes to develop young people

No inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts

  • ESS does not use zero-hours contracts
  • all ESS staff are employed on permanent or fixed-term contracts with confirmed hours and working patterns which do not involve compulsory overtime

Action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace

  • ESS adheres to the Public Sector Equality Duty and publicly reports its progress against its equality mainstreaming and outcome delivery, as well as pay gap information where applicable
  • ESS has consistently achieved the Gender Representation Objective, which aims for a public board to have 50% of non-executive members who are women
  • ESS carries out equality and diversity monitoring of its staff to understand areas of underrepresentation and to inform its decision-making across the organisation
  • ESS has developed a set of equality outcomes that seek to remove perceived barriers to employment at ESS and embed an inclusive culture in the workplace
  • to deliver its equality outcomes, ESS has produced an action plan which is monitored regularly at Executive level
  • ESS is developing a People Strategy to inform its practices in relation to recruitment, retention, development and the wellbeing of its staff
  • ESS has various policies and procedures in place to support the wellbeing and inclusion of its staff, such as:
    • Equality and Diversity Policy
    • Fairness at Work Policy
    • Flexible Working Pattern Policy
    • Flexible Working Hours Policy
    • Hybrid and Homeworking Policy
    • workplace adjustments
  • ESS is a hybrid organisation and invests in hybrid working equipment and technology, in the office and for individuals at home, to ensure both accessibility and safety for all
  • ESS has appropriate policies and procedures for staff requiring leave for various circumstances, including:
    • family leave (such as maternity/paternity, antenatal, parental, adoption, etc.)
    • domestic special leave (such as domestic emergency and carer’s leave)
    • non-domestic special leave (such as undertaking public duties, volunteering days, etc.)
    • bereavement leave
    • study leave
    • career breaks

Oppose the use of fire and rehire practice

  • ESS will only consider effecting change where there is a legitimate business need
  • ESS will engage in meaningful consultation with its staff, with the support of trade union representatives, when seeking to implement contractual change to terms and conditions of employment
  • ESS will not use, or threaten to use, dismissal with a view to immediate re-engagement to implement contractual change to terms and conditions of employment

4. Trade Union agreement

Our Trade Union representatives have agreed the commitments in this statement.

Trade Unions:

  • FDA
  • Public and Commercial Services Union
  • Prospect


13 March 2024

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