Companies that buy outsourced services (i.e. service buyers) can influence the employment practices of the service providers. This is particularly true for cleaning, security and landscaping services, which are commonly outsourced services that employ a significant number of low-wage workers (LWWs).
Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices
To help service buyers outsource responsibly, MOM and its tripartite partners released a Tripartite Advisory on Responsible Outsourcing Practices in March 2008. The advisory was updated in January 2012 and renamed as the Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices to encourage service buyers to outsource responsibly and adopt best practices when doing so. The changes take into account feedback gathered from industry stakeholders, unions, workers and the public.
The Tripartite Advisory on Best Sourcing Practices provides greater clarity on how workers, service buyers and service providers can benefit from best sourcing.
Specifically, service buyers are encouraged to consider the following five principles when best sourcing:
Safeguard the basic employment rights of workers;
Specify service contracts on the basis of service-level requirements rather than headcount;
Recognise factors that contribute to service quality;
Seek to establish a long-term collaborative partnership with service provider; and
Provide a decent work environment for workers
Step-by-Step Guidebook on Best Sourcing for Service Buyers
MOM and its tripartite partners have also launched a step-by-step guidebook for service buyers that illustrates the business case for best sourcing and gives detailed and practical guidance on the implementation of best sourcing. It includes useful examples of clauses that can be inserted into tender requirements, scoring templates for evaluating proposals from potential service providers and examples of key performance indicators for managing the service provider. This guidebook is particularly useful for organisations that outsource cleaning, security and landscape services We would appreciate any feedback that you may have on the guidebook. Please submit your suggestions or request through our feedback form.
Service buyers can safeguard the basic employment rights of workers by taking into account a service provider’s track record in complying with employment laws before awarding a service contract to a service provider. Service buyers can take reference from the list of employers convicted for infringements of the Employment Act and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Act, as well as the list of offenders convicted under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
Funding assistance to implement best sourcing is available under the Best Sourcing Initiative (BSI). Companies may contact NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for queries on BSI and assistance in implementing best sourcing.