Army: Food

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 18th May 2022.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the pay as you dine scheme in the British Army since the introduction of that scheme.

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

Defence utilises a number of mechanisms to assess the adequacy of catering services, including Pay As You Dine (PAYD), across the three Services.

The independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body's (AFPRB) annual report for the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Defence assesses the quality of catering, among other management services. AFPRB reports can be accessed online: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/armed-forces-pay-review-body. All three Services utilise a two-star Honorary Catering Advisor (HCA) from the hospitality sector. The HCA's independent reports complement the AFPRB reports, but provide a more focussed scrutiny of catering and messing to respective Commands and the Chief of the Defence Staff.

This activity was supplemented last year with the Delivering Defence Dining Quality (3DQ) Review, which was tasked by the 2* Military People Leadership Team, following repeated and consistent reports of poor-quality food provision across the Defence estate. The initial findings from the 3DQ Review have evidenced a number of inadequacies with PAYD, the Defence dining environment and food offer, and action planning is now underway to support the delivery of transformational changes to these factors governing Defence catering services.

Regarding the British Army specifically, the Army Messing Working Group (AMWG) and Exploring Appetites of Today's Soldiers (EATS) pilot survey have been established to progress Army-specific issues to action. Together the AMWG and EATS initiatives have provided valuable evidence to inform the 3DQ Review, and close collaboration between the two areas of activity will allow Defence to accelerate improvements to messing services.

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