Chartwells nets £65m contract to serve schools without on-site kitchens

School meals

Compass Group UK & Ireland’s education business, Chartwells, has retained its school meals catering contract with West Sussex County Council for another five years in a deal worth £13m annually.

Chartwells has delivered catering for the local authority since 2006 and emerged victorious from the tender to gain the contract until 2021. There is also an option to extend for another five years.

Under the terms of the deal, the 650-strong group will provide services to more than 200 schools.

The majority of schools in West Sussex do not have on-site cooking facilities, so Chartwells uses its Steamplicity cooking system to meet the needs of even the smallest schools. Healthy, balanced meals are created using top quality ingredients, sourced from approved Compass Group suppliers who meet stringent standards of quality and safety.

As part of the contract, Chartwells will implement its Local Authority Catering Association (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.

John Figgins, county catering service manager at West Sussex County Council, said: “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 council’s 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.”

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