Council meetings

Agenda and draft minutes

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the open meeting held on 2 October 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record.


Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 206 KB


None was declared.


Exclusion of the press and public pdf icon PDF 45 KB




The following is a summary of the discussion at the closed meeting.


Decision Made by the Mayor on 25 March 2020 - closed session


School Meals Contract Extension


The Chair informed Panel Members that Councillor Sorba, Chair of the Children and Young People Select Committee, had sent six questions to the Senior Contracts Officer in advance of this meeting. The officer responded to these questions at the meeting as follows:


Q1. To what extent were the performance deductions taken into account when deciding to extend Chartwells’ contract to July 2021?


A1. The decision to further extend the contract is driven by school leaders, many of whom would like more time to decide if the model could work for them and give thought to how they would resource and manage it in the longer term.    During the ongoing negotiations regarding extension, a considerable amount of discussion and negotiation continues on the PMS (Performance Management System).  The contractor feels that the system does not offer enough incentive to carry out and report back on remedial measures.  Any points above 100 attract the maximum deduction and as the points are often running in the thousands it makes the area managers feel helpless to reduce it enough to stop the penalty.    It is hoped that this review, along with a new member of staff dedicated to rectifications, will improve performance during the extension period.



Q2 The Council agreed to change its penalty system. Is the new sliding scale more or less strict than the current capped monthly deduction model?


A2. The new system will identify critical performance indicators e.g. special diet management, temperature testing, continuing to penalise failures in these key areas but will reduce the weight of non-critical factors, e.g. menu on display, theme days.   The current maximum cap will remain the same although falling under this should be more manageable for Chartwells.  The deduction will be applied separately for each school inspected instead of the current system which totals the points lost across all schools. 


Q3. A survey of Lewisham schools’ satisfaction rating with Chartwells had previously shown that a low percentage of schools were against contract extension but that now schools were largely in favour. Please detail what changed their minds? 


A3. When schools responded to the initial survey, many were largely of the opinion that the alternative to contract extension was a return to market and a continuation of outsourcing. One of the features of the insource models included the management of kitchen staff by (most likely) school business managers and for a large number of the schools included, this is a daunting prospect.  Some Heads do not feel there is capacity to absorb this task amongst their senior management teams and are also reluctant to import the risks associated with the delivery of the service.  Some schools have given notice to withdraw from the central arrangement as they continued not to be in favour of the extension and have returned to tender exiting the current arrangement in July 2020.   This includes 8 primary schools and 7 secondary schools.


Q4. The London Living Wage has gone up by 2%. Chartwells are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.