Local Government: Food

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities to use the (a) Government Buying Standards and (b) balanced scorecards in the procurement of food and drink.

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

The Plan for Public Procurement of Food and Catering Services provides tools, including the balanced scorecard (BSC), to help contracting parties balance a range of criteria beneficial to the consumer, the environment and producers. Use of the toolkit is mandated for central Government and strongly encouraged for wider public sector bodies who have delegated funding from central Government. There is a range of activity going on to support local authorities to use the Government Buying Standards (GBS) and the BSC, with highlights as below:

The Government Food Procurement Implementation Taskforce was formed on 7 December 2017. The Taskforce is a sector led body made up of trade bodies, procurers, food producers and processors, distributors, caterers and other interested parties. It has agreed to focus on driving up the use of the BSC and the GB Food Marketplace, which is a recently launched online service that includes a self-assessment questionnaire to help suppliers evaluate how they measure up against the GBS and the BSC. There are currently three Taskforce working groups looking at communications, measurement and analysis, and supply chain issues including opening up new ways to market for small and medium sized businesses.

The School Food Plan, published in 2013, aims to significantly increase the number of children eating good food in schools. It sets standards for caterers to meet, meaning that pupils will have access to better quality, more nutritious food. Defra officials formed part of the implementation Project Board, providing advice on how Defra’s Food Marketplace could help school caterers source high quality, locally produced supplies.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has implemented the BSC in their food procurement practices, and have set up a Dynamic Food Procurement National Advisory Board to provide a conduit for public sector bodies to increase the amount of local and fresh food that is procured. Defra is part of this group.

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