Catering Services

All Saints Schools Trust

Catering

All Saints Schools Trust is a Multi Academy Trust based in Suffolk. There are 11 primary schools in the Trust that participated in this tender. The schools are situated in the mainly rural areas of Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Laxfield, Thorndon, Woodbridge and Wortham. 

The Background

All Saints Schools Trust conducted a tender process to award a contract for the provision of Catering Services that commenced in June 2023 for 11 of their schools.  The contract term was for 3 years with two optional extensions of 12 months each.

The Trust commissioned Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services to conduct the tender process as there was a significant degree of urgency.  Their incumbent supplier (Chartwells) had decided to terminate the contract with almost no notice leaving the Trust CFO with some very difficult decisions to make – and right over her Christmas break too.  Minerva was appointed to give the Trust the benefit of our procurement expertise as well as much needed human resource.

Due to the time pressures Minerva recommended that the Trust run a competition utilising the ESPO Managing Food and Catering Framework. An ‘invitation only’ closed tender procedure was conducted via a one stage process.

The Trust’s school sizes range from 70 to 250 pupils and have either a fully equipped kitchen or serveries in all the schools.  There are five schools that have a delivered in service from other Trust schools.  This, coupled with the rural location of many of the sites made the procurement particularly difficult.  More so because of the challenges facing catering contractors in providing services to very small schools.

Results

In alignment with the requirements of a further competition via a framework, Minerva proactively contacted all Catering Services contractors who had bid and been accepted on the framework for the relevant geographical region. 13 suppliers were invited to take part in the tender process.

Using the ESPO Framework allowed Minerva to carry out all relevant supplier checks without the requirement to score a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) or process references, work already undertaken by ESPO in order to accept bidders on to the framework.

Evidencing the obvious challenges with this procurement, two questionnaire responses were received within the given deadline and were scored according to the evaluation criteria and both suppliers were invited to attend the presentation day. 

All Saints Schools Trust informed Minerva of their decision to award the Contract to Aspens Services.  They submitted the most economically advantageous bid, with the lowest cost, and the highest scored submission overall. Their understanding of the requirements of each school and their commitment to delivering a consistent, high-quality service was particularly well regarded.

Customer Feedback

“ASST had to complete a catering tender at short notice on a limited timescale, not easy with  11 school locations and difficult market conditions. Minerva found a solution, ensuring compliance with public procurement regulations. Full support was provided throughout to ensure that the tender progressed smoothly and successfully.”

Karen Preece, Chief Finance Officer, All Saints Schools Trust

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