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Place Select Committee to discuss review of catering and facilities services

Tuesday, 14 May 2024

The county council’s Place Select Committee will next week consider a series of recommendations aimed at securing the best future for the council’s Catering and Facilities Management Service.

A recent review undertaken by a cross-party group of councillors from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Place Select Committee has recommended that work should now move forward on identifying a new partner to help the council continue to deliver these services.

The service is made up of 1,900 members of staff who deliver a range of front-line services including school’s catering, cleaning, ground maintenance and landscaping, facilities management and County Enterprise Foods, which provides a hot meals delivery service to people’s homes as well as frozen meals to schools.

The review comes after a sustained period of financial pressures being driven by events such as the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine – both of which have contributed to the price of food recently rising at its highest rate in 45 years.

Other recommendations from the review include recognising the significant social value of the service as well as the excellent work by staff within the service to provide a high-quality service across Nottinghamshire.

At its next meeting on 22 May, the Place Select Committee will also consider the recommendations of ensuring that any future changes are supported by large scale staff engagement and that any changes to the future service delivery should enable the service to reach its full potential.

Councillor Mike Adams, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Place Select Committee, said: “We have looked at every angle of this service from the contribution of staff in providing a high-quality service right through to the financial challenges.

“As part of the review, we paid a visit to the County Enterprise Foods production centre in Worksop and the distribution centre in Rainworth as well as King Edwin Primary School in Edwinstowe.

“These visits gave us a really valuable opportunity to see how services are delivered and meet just some of the staff involved.

“In light of everything considered as part of our review, we recommend that securing a new delivery partner is the most positive way forward as we look towards the future.

“This option could pave the way for the development of new partnership arrangements which would offer a sustainable future for the services included in our current Catering and Facilities Management service.

“The view of the review group is that this option would be most beneficial to staff and customers as it would cause minimal disruption, maximise the full potential of the service and protect staff terms and conditions.

“We did of course consider other options such as leaving the service unchanged, exiting the market completely or outsourcing some or all of the service but we felt that these options did not present the same benefits as creating a new partnership with an external partner.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in the review and look forward to seeing how these recommendations can evolve to ultimately secure the best possible future for such a vital service in Nottinghamshire.”

The full list of recommendations made by the Place Select Committee is as follows:

  1. That the review group note:
    1. the significant social value that is provided through the delivery of Catering and Facilities Management Services.
    2. their appreciation to all Catering and Facilities Management staff for the high level of service that they consistently provide to residents across Nottinghamshire.
    3. the current and unsustainable financial pressures that are being faced by the Catering and Facilities Management Service.
  2. That having considered the range of potential alternative options of how the Catering and Facilities Management Service could be delivered in the future, that the option of delivery through a partnership approach should now be prioritised for further exploration and assessment through an appropriate procurement exercise to explore the market in order to gain a detailed understanding of this option’s potential benefits and limitations.
  3. That any future changes to the delivery of the Catering and Facilities Management Service should be supported with large scale engagement and communication with staff and customers.
  4. That any future changes to the delivery of the Catering and Facilities Management Service should enable the significant potential of County Enterprise Foods to be fully realised and developed.
  5. That a strategic review of the 15 landscapes depots should be carried out to identify how they could be best used as part of the service’s operational estate. 

The full Place Select Committee report can be found on our Democratic Management System:

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