Government Departments: Food

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th December 2017.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase procurement of British-farmed produce by Government Departments and agencies; and if he will make a statement?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Plan for Public Procurement: Food and Catering Services, published in 2014, already provides UK food businesses with greater access to central Government and wider public sector contracts.

The Plan aims to simplify the public procurement process and open up the market to more SMEs and local producers. It provides a level playing field on which UK producers can compete for the opportunity to supply more of the produce currently supplied from other countries. It includes tools such as the on-line marketplace which enables local and SME suppliers to evaluate and showcase their produce, and the balanced scorecard which helps contracting parties to balance a range of criteria beneficial to the consumer, the environment, and to producers. These criteria include embedding UK production standards, inclusion of SMEs, local and cultural engagement, encouraging seasonality of fresh produce and calling for menus which celebrate the provenance of the food. The balanced scorecard applies to all food and drink that the Government procures.

The balanced scorecard approach is mandated for central government departments as existing contracts come up for renewal, and it is also strongly encouraged for other public sector bodies.

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