Access to good work or any work?

Embedding good work into the Covid-19 recovery

1 July 2020

3 minute read

Prior to Covid-19, ‘good work’ was a major inclusive growth priority for IGN members and many made positive strides towards its delivery. The pandemic has significantly impacted businesses of all types and sizes, posing numerous challenges including cashflow, viability and returning to work safely. This context has raised concerns around the risk of reduced employment standards in certain sectors and the impact of a new wave of unemployment.

However, as we move to recovery, there is a willingness to ‘build back better’ and IGN members are highlighting the links between good work, productivity and public health to make the case for change. However, there are growing concerns around whether any job is better than no job in the context of rising unemployment. Experts from CPP and JRF led a workshop to explore how to build good work into Covid-19 recovery plans.

Key Learnings:

  • Gaps in reach have been further exposed during crisis: shifting the dial means going beyond the small core of companies engaging in ‘good work’ programmes. Many members have focused efforts on specific sectors such as care.
  • Key narratives for embedding good work into economic recovery include tackling work poverty, the role of low-paid frontline workers during the pandemic, the evidence between good work and physical and mental health, and driving productivity.
  • Good Employment Charters are a tool to drive good work: a tiered charter model is one approach to addressing reach and bringing more businesses on the ‘good work’ journey. There is an opportunity for places developing charters to use this time to secure more ‘early adopters’, consider working lives post-Covid and ensure safe working environments. It is important to align charters where possible and consider the impact of multiple charters on a business.
  • Creating futureproofed jobs can support the good work agenda and 'build back better': places should focus on investing in quality jobs of the future and ensuring that local people are connected to these opportunities. CPP have advocated for individual skills matching models to be scaled up to the level of local economies, with local leaders using training to guide their economies from ‘origin sectors’ to ‘destination sectors’.
  • Social value through procurement is a key local lever to secure good work in the long-term: There is potential to embed good work pledges/charters into procurement processes and influence wider anchor institution procurement to secure good work and broader inclusive growth outcomes.
  • A wide range of levers can be used to create opportunities for good work in local places including use of section 106/CIL through the provision of quality apprenticeships, equity stakes in business and investment frameworks, campaigning for Living Wage accreditation and building it into procurement processes, and leading targeted work with sectors e.g. focused activity to support in-work progression in the care sector.

Rosie Stock-Jones, Senior Research Analyst at CPP, talked through different ways of framing the ‘good work’ agenda.

Morgan Bestwick, Policy Officer at JRF, presented ways of embedding good work in recovery.