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Report finds Public Health Wales guidance has contributed to raising the profile of fair work public sector partners

Published: 23 October 2023

Public Health Wales has found that public sector partners are increasing their efforts to improve health and well-being through access to fair work.  

Fair work is where workers are fairly rewarded, heard and represented, secure and able to progress in a healthy, inclusive environment where rights are respected. Welsh Government are committed in building an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future. 

Participation in fair work is an essential building block for good health. It provides a sense of purpose and resources for a healthy life. This in turn can reduce stress and help children in the family have the best start in life. 

Since May 2022, the Wider Determinants of Health Unit at Public Health Wales has been engaging with agencies across Wales to support them to connect fair work and health, well-being and equity and understand what action they can take. This builds on their guide and resources for local and regional partners to increase participation in fair work to improve health, well-being and equity.  

The Fair Work for Health, Well-being and Equity: Engagement Phase report found that there has been a substantial increase in the number of well-being plans produced by Public Services Boards explicitly referencing working conditions or employment, with some quoting the fair work guide. In previous well-being plans, 37% had any objectives or actions linked to fair work and its characteristics, whereas for the plans developed during Public Health Wales’ engagement on fair work, 85% now have actions related to fair work and its characteristics. This is one of a number of findings noted by Public Health Wales during its engagement phase, which involved linking with Public Service Boards as they developed their well-being plans. 

Those engaged during this phase recognised the challenges of influencing the nature of work in the private sector from within Wales, given devolved Welsh Government powers. Public sector bodies are increasing participation in fair work through procurement; apprenticeships, fair reward and embedding fair work into policies and plans. 

Cerys Preece, Senior Public Health Practitioner in the Wider Determinants of Health Unit at Public Health Wales, said: “It is encouraging to see that public bodies and organisations are taking forward recommendations and implementing a fair work mindset into their planning processes. A fair work approach can make a real difference to individuals and their families, as well as bringing business and economic benefits.”