Independent workers’ welfare monitor appointed as edition two of SC Standards takes effect

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has appointed Impactt Ltd as an independent third party External Monitor to further bolster the auditing and inspections process of the SC Workers’ Welfare Standards (WW Standards), a set of enforceable principles and regulations which are incorporated into all contracts for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.

The second edition of the WW Standards was published on March 1, and clearly sets out the SC’s requirements regarding the recruitment, employment, living and working conditions of everyone engaged on an SC project. Developed by the SC’s Workers’ Welfare Unit (WWU) in close consultation with stakeholders including contractors, FIFA and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the new requirements update the original WW Standards, which were published in February 2014. These revised standards are now in the process of being further embedded throughout the supply chain in a series of workshops with contractors and sub-contractors.

In addition to numerous visits by NGOs to SC projects, the WWU and senior SC management conducted a two-day trip to London in January 2016 to brief Amnesty International, Engineers Against Poverty, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Humanity United and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the updated standards, progress to date, and to get feedback from these organisations.

Commenting on the independent third party External Monitor coming on board to enhance monitoring of the updated WW Standards, SC Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, said: “In line with our continued commitment to making tangible progress on workers' welfare, this appointment of an independent third party External Monitor is an important step for us. We will keep improving on every step of our journey as we make sure our approach to workers’ welfare progress is transparent and our updated standards are effectively and stringently enforced throughout the entire supply chain and life cycle of our projects.”

As part of its holistic approach to workers’ welfare, the SC’s WWU has been working closely with NGOs from around the world to accelerate positive initiatives already underway in Qatar with the help of additional expertise. One of these NGOs was the internationally recognised organisation Verité, who have worked with the SC since early this year to help appoint the External Monitor.

“In January of this year, Verité was commissioned by the SC to develop the technical scope of services for the appointment of an independent external monitor to assess compliance with the Worker Welfare Standards on all SC projects. The scope requires the external monitor to continuously review and assess the extent to which SC contractors and sub-contractors – including their recruitment agents - and the SC itself are in compliance with the Standards. We also assisted the SC in identifying potential tenderers and the technical evaluation of tenderers for the external monitor role,” said Dan Viederman, CEO of Verité.

With two years’ experience of applying the WW Standards collaboratively with contractors and sub-contractors, the WWU introduces a number of amendments in Edition Two, which seek to bolster regulations on auditing and inspections, as well as ethical recruitment. The addition of the independent third party External Monitor will mean independent audits of the SC and its contractors take place on a regular basis, completing the four-tier auditing process.

“We are delighted to hear the news that we have been appointed as External Workers’ Welfare Compliance Monitor. Our approach is to put workers at the centre of everything we do, as we work to understand how and why labour standards abuses occur, to support remediation for any individual whose rights have been infringed and to build systems and practices to support decent jobs for workers now and in the future. We are looking forward to applying these principles with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy when our engagement begins,” said Rosey Hurst, Director of Impactt.

In addition, the WW Standards’ related to the issue of Ethical Recruitment have been bolstered by the introduction of a requirement that Contractors obtain a signed statement from their Recruitment Agent evidencing the Agent’s compliance with the WW Standards, as well as a requirement for the Contractor to share with the SC a completed New Starter Checklist on each worker they recruit. The SC has maintained an open dialogue with stakeholders including governments of labour sending countries and international NGOs in this regard.

Other changes introduced in Edition Two of the WW Standards include:

• Inserting a requirement for Contractors to pay all workers in accordance with the Wage Protection System (WPS), introduced by Law No. 1 of 2015 in November 2015; • Inserting a requirement for the appointment of a Project Worker Welfare Officer once the number of workers on-site exceeds 500 workers to look after site welfare matters; • Inserting a mechanism for companies not working on SC projects to voluntarily adopt the WW Standards and come under the auditing & compliance regime and support systems of the SC.

The announcement of the independent third party External Monitor and publication of Edition Two of the WW Standards is the latest signal of the SC’s commitment to leading by example in continuous improvement of worker welfare across its projects.

Additional planned improvements in 2016 include: • Further developing a bespoke online IT platform auditing tool which was recently launched, enabling the SC and its contractors to generate more accurate, streamlined and immediate insights into the implementation of the WW Standards; • Commencing operations of the SC Workers’ Skills Training Centre; • Hiring additional inspectors to account for growing demand and to ensure that the team is able to deliver and implement rectification plans for all issues.