Chartwells Retains West Sussex County Council Contract
Compass Group UK & Ireland’s education business, Chartwells, has retained its school meals catering contract, following a competitive tender, with West Sussex County Council for another 5 years in a deal worth £13 million annually.
Chartwells has delivered catering for the Local Authority since 2006. Under the new contract, the 650 strong Chartwells team will continue to provide services to over 200 schools. The contract will run for an initial 5 years, with the option to extend for another 5 years.
The majority of schools in West Sussex do not have on-site cooking facilities. Chartwells is able to provide an exclusive and unique cooking system, Steamplicity, which is flexible enough to meet the needs of even the smallest schools. Healthy, balanced meals are created using top quality ingredients, sourced only from approved Compass Group suppliers who meet stringent standards of quality and safety.
Chartwells has previously worked closely with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to reduce the sugar content on menus. This was part of a range of initiatives that WSCC Public Health, together with the WSCC School Meals service, has undertaken as part of the sugar reduction champion pilot programme. Chartwells has reduced the total sugar on the menu for around 30,000 children across the county by approximately 30% in the past 12 months, a success that has been highlighted in a recent review on sugar reduction published by Public Health England.
As part of the contract award Chartwells will implement their Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) Award winning “Eat Right, Stay Bright” programmes to engage with pupils, staff and parents. The scheme which has been previously tried and tested in Isle of Wight schools and has seen school meal uptake increase by up to 20%. It is hoped the programme will enhance the already strong whole school approach to food that exists in West Sussex.
As well as generating eight apprenticeships in the contract annually Chartwells will be recruiting two graduate posts to support the contracts added value initiatives.
Lisa Bradstock, Business Director for Chartwells Local Authorities said; “Chartwells has worked hard to deliver a great catering offer for schools in West Sussex. We are delighted to be able to further our relationship with the Council and continue to provide healthy and balanced school meals, and are looking forward to providing support for children, parents and teachers about healthy eating, throughout the county.”
Christine Field, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said: “Ensuring our children have a nutritionally balanced school lunch is very important. Our school meals team must be congratulated on the hard work that they have undertaken. As well as reducing the levels of sugar in our meals, we have also greatly reduced salt levels and continue to look at ways to make further reductions.”
John Figgins, County Catering Service Manager at West Sussex County Council said: “We are very proud to have been commended by Public Health England recently for our work on sugar reduction that has been achieved whilst still developing the school meal offer to remain interesting and exciting for our children.
"This contract has many new features that focus on food quality, as well as social value to our residents and adds huge steps towards the Councils target of a 50% reduction in carbon over the next 10 years. Working in close partnership with Chartwells, we have a high take up of meals in the County and want to see this grow in the short to medium term, which we believe is achievable with the added value investment Chartwells will be making in this contract.”