Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote via Microsoft Teams, and also in Council Chamber, Civic Suite, Lewisham Town Hall, London SE6 4RU

Contact: Jasmine Kassim 


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the open meeting held on 16 February 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.



Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 209 KB


None was declared.



Decision by Mayor and Cabinet on 9 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 36 KB


School Meals Contract Award


3.1      The Chair informed Panel Members that Councillor Sorba, had asked for this report to be submitted to this Panel for consideration.


3.2      Councillor Sorba outlined the background to the school meals contract award. In response to a question from Councillor Sorba, the Director for Children and Young People confirmed that the in house provisions as preferred by members had not proved popular amongst schools. Officers confirmed that many schools had not chosen the centralised approach because of cost. In the next few years, officers would re-engage with schools for a longer term solution in an effort to ensure that there was not a mixed approach across Lewisham schools with regard to the provision of school meals.


3.3      Members were advised that the contract put out to tender had strict quality indicators and there was a tighter contract arrangement than the previous contract. It had been disappointing to receive one contract bid because officers had hoped that by offering a longer contract period it would have been more attractive to contractors. The quality and cost of the bid was good. There would be a fixed cost throughout all the schools. This would ensure that smaller schools, who had been paying more for their meals, would not be dis-benefited.


3.4      The school packed lunches provided by the contractor had been of poor quality and reported as such in national newspapers; the contractor subsequently apologised at a national level. The Director for Children and Young People said that packed lunches would not form part of the new school meals contract.


3.5      In response to questions from Councillor Sorba regarding the differential between the options and quality and standards, the Estate and Contracts Manager said that cost was the main factor for schools turning down the insource model option B, Officers considered two insource models. One was fully insourcing everyone into the local authority and providing a service that way, and the other option was for schools to manage the staff and kitchen. There were about 500 employees at the time and option B required an extensive team structure to manage these staff. The difference in cost between options A and B was about £½m per year, about £10,000 for each school. Schools may have thought that the difference in cost was too high. Officers could consider these costs over the next few years and whether they could be reduced. Another reason why option B was rejected could have been that school business managers considered that their jobs were pressurised and that they did not want to take on extra responsibility of providing a school meals service.


3.6      In response to a question from Councillor Sorba regarding the length of the contract period, the Estate and Contracts Manager said that the tender was out for 5 weeks, which was considered to be a reasonable amount of time and ample time to submit bids. She said that there could have been an issue with other local authorities putting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Decisions by Executive Director for Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the report be noted.