Document Abstract

Decent work: harnessing the power of local government

Investigates how local authorities in the north of England have used their powers as employers and service commissioners to implement ‘decent work’ policies in order to improve employment conditions for workers. Defines ‘decent work’ (according to the TUC definition of ‘great jobs’) as comprising six elements – voice at work, fair and decent pay, regular hours, fair treatment and respect, healthy workplaces, and learning and progression. Highlights some of the challenges imposed by austerity measures and finances, and legal challenges in procurement. Shows how some local authorities and metro mayors have harnessed ‘soft power’ or influence over their local economies and employed informal measures to persuade local employers to implement decent work policies. Highlights innovative solutions that have helped to improve employment conditions, for example living wage policies and employment charters. Recommends that political leaders: prioritise decent work outcomes in procurement and collaborate to help overcome obstacles; develop a Northern Employment Charter; and set out a vision to become a ‘living wage region’ by 2025. Suggests that local authorities explore and implement practical steps to overcome barriers to decent work policies, and to promote and embed them. Recommends that central government increase funding to local government, as part of a package including fiscal autonomy, a fair system of redistribution that reflects need and deprivation, and long-term financial settlements. Includes a ‘Councillors guide’ to decent work in commissioning and procurement.


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Johns, Marcus; Raikes, Luke; Hunter, Jack
Ref No:
IPPR North

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