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Boroughs join up for schools catering savings

13 January 2011

Following an innovative joint tender for schools catering contracts, Caterlink has been reawarded the contracts to feed pupils in Camden and Islington.

State Education catering specialist, Caterlink, has been selected to provide services to two London boroughs, after an innovative joint tender by the purchasing authorities. The £7.5m per annum deal will ensure the continuation of its school meals service in Camden and Islington, whilst delivering significant savingsto its public sector clients.
Caterlink currently provides school meals under individual agreements in both Camden and Islington and from next year will work with more than 100 schools across the Boroughs to deliver 17,000 locally-sourced and freshly-prepared meals a day.
Every meal served will be freshly prepared on site using locally sourced ingredients, providing the children and staff in primary and secondary schools, as well as children’s centres and nurseries in Islington, with a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet whilst at school.
Camden and Islington’s decision to combine forces to procure their catering services is forecast to deliver efficiencies by Caterlink through working in partnership with its supply chain to protect the London Boroughs from the continuing impact of food inflation. It is supporting local food suppliers with new long term opportunities to help feed children across their community.
This contract award is the first time Camden and Islington have reappointed an existing incumbent school meals provider and caps fruitful partnerships with both Boroughs. Caterlink began working with Camden in 2006 and Islington in 2007 and since that time they have helped to drive lunch time uptake to an average of over 70 percent across the Boroughs, comparing favourably to the national average in England of 41.4 percent.
Islington Council's executive member for children and young people, Cllr Richard Watts, explained:"We want to ensure that we're providing high quality, healthy and nutritious school meals for Islington pupils, while also getting the best value for money. Caterlink proved to be the best providers to do that and signing this joint contract with Camden will save Islington Council £900,000 a year - an important saving in light of the Government cuts."
Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Heather Johnson, said:  "We examined all the tenders very closely and have chosen the provider that scored best in all areas, providing both value for money and quality of service. I am confident that they will be dedicated to providing healthy school meals to all our young people."
The school meals contract will save Camden Council more than £270,000 which will help both schools and Camden meet the current financial challenge.
The contract has also secured the jobs of 700 employees.
Speaking about this latest news,
Caterlink's MD, Neil Fuller said: "Hearing that we had been awarded this new contract was an incredibly emotional moment for us all at Caterlink. We’ve worked alongside Camden for 5 years and Islington for 4 years and are extremely proud of what we have achieved with them, from raising the numbers of children who eat school lunch at a greater rate than any other borough in the country through to becoming the first contract caterer to be awarded the Soil Assocation’s Food for Life Accreditation "Together we’ve shown that it is absolutely possible to deliver the most fantastic food in school and really make a difference to the day for the children as well as the school’s staff teams and visitors we serve

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