Spend Matters Papers: School Catering: Value for schools, nutrition and enjoyment for children

So here’s a plan - through August we’re going to highlight all the research papers, briefings and so on that we’ve produced in the last two and a half years. We’ll  include what we said when we first launched it, and of course the link so you can download – free on registration. Why not use the quiet time in August to brush up on some procurement thinking? And they haven’t dated, in our opinion.

Today we have a somewhat esoteric topic but it illustrates the benefits good technology can bring to most areas -   School Catering: Value for schools; nutrition and enjoyment for children. Here’s what we said when we launched it back in November  2011.

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We’ve got a new “comment” paper available to download here. In it, we’re looking at how a group of schools in Stratford on Avon has used a framework (let by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation) and a software platform created by Intenda to let new catering contracts that will provide value and service for the children and the schools.

Shakespeare's School in Stratford - not actually the one I'm talking about here...

Shakespeare's School in Stratford - not actually the one I'm talking about here...

It was one of the most enjoyable pieces to write I’ve ever done, because I got to go to a lovely primary school in Stratford to meet Amanda Dale, the schools “cluster manager” who led the tender, and Janis McBride, the head of the school. What was particularly interesting was discussing drivers for them – it wasn’t all about cost, but flexibility and service.

It is good to see procurement having a value beyond cost saving; as McBride said– “if we make the school catering better, more children will choose it, and for some this will give them better nutrition than they currently get, which then helps their concentration and education”.

From a more technical procurement point of view, our previous White Paper looked at the use of frameworks contracts in the public sector, and how they can be best utilised. Key to that is strong competition at the second call-off or “mini-competition” stage, which drives the ultimate contract and deal.

So it was also good to see how the Intenda tool had worked in practice, as that was specifically designed to allow people who aren’t procurement professionals to run such competitions easily and effectively. And the end result looks good – a legally compliant process, and a new contract that is going to save money, but promises this flexibility and innovation as well.

Do download the paper (free on registration) – it’s a good and fairly short read, and it also includes a lovely picture of Spotted Dick!

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