Southwark’s school children set for higher quality food under new £4m framework

17 June 2024

New plans that went to Southwark Council’s Cabinet for approval (Monday 17 June) will help schools to source and buy high quality healthy food from more local businesses and for better value for money.

Southwark’s school food market is complex and fragmented. Each school has different contracts in place with varying ways of finding and selecting food produce and services. A more stable system will give schools more control over their catering contracts and the quality of their food.

The council wants to do more to support schools to serve high quality healthy school lunches to help pupils engage in learning, enhance their academic performance, and support a healthy weight.

The council’s Cabinet approved plans to develop a new framework to transform how schools can source and pay for food services with a total estimate value of £4m.

The new framework will:

  • simplify schools’ route to markets and suppliers
  • reduce the administrative burden on schools when going out to tender for food services
  • uphold high meal standards
  • raise wages and morale in school kitchens
  • improve access to locally-sourced produce and services from smaller businesses and community organisations.

The framework will be available to all schools and academies in Southwark.

A council spokesperson said: “We were one of the first councils to commit to free, healthy school meals for all primary children. Since then, our children are better nourished and achieving better results. Now we raising the bar again by unlocking the power of procurement to further improve the food given to pupils throughout the day, working closely with schools and partners.

“Our new framework will make it far easier for schools to ensure they are consistently serving food that is nutritious, sustainably sourced, and good value for money. The framework will cut down the burden and cost for schools, while opening up new jobs and new access for local businesses within our school food market.”

The council is working together with the Department for Education to deliver the procurement framework. This project is one of the goals under the council’s wider school meals transformation programme which launched in December 2021.

Page last updated: 17 June 2024

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