Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the free school meal national voucher scheme, whether (a) Edenred's contract as the Government's supplier will be renewed or (b) there will be a competitive tendering process after 21 June 2020.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation this summer. To reflect this, the Edenred contract was extended to enable free school meal provision until the end of the summer term (through the national voucher scheme) and to support the Covid Summer Food Fund.

The free school meal vouchers contract was extended on 22 June following ministerial direction to extend the contract to cover the summer holiday period. In order to ensure families receive the support they needed in a timely manner, the department did not have sufficient time to run a competitive procurement for the extension. The extension did not make any substantial changes to the extant contract as defined by PCR Reg 72(1)(e).

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