Agenda Item No



The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 29 July 2013


Report of the Cabinet Member for Adult Services


Tender for a Cashless Catering Solution for Schools Meals in the Vale of Glamorgan


Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Cabinet of the outcome of a tender to let a contract for the provision of a cashless catering solution for all schools within the management of Vale Catering Services (VCS).

2.         To gain Cabinet approval to award the contract to the supplier who meets the functional specification from the bids received.


1.         That Cabinet approve the award of the contract and authorise the Head of Legal Services to execute a contract with the successful bidder.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To allow the award of the 5-year contract and the implementation of a cashless catering system within each primary and secondary school managed by VCS for the Council and a Management Information System (MIS) for the administration and collection of data for the service.


3.         The Council's Catering Service has 4 different existing cashless catering solutions in 6 secondary schools, however, cashless catering has not yet been introduced in the 49 primary schools and 1 secondary school.  A new contract with one solution which includes a Management Information System (MIS) is required to support the growing number of payment options for parents/guardians and the growing need for data about the Catering Service to support the management of the service and meet external requests for information from Welsh Government (WG), Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) and Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA).

4.         The cashless catering solution will enable all schools to reduce the administration burden of catering and allow secure and efficient payment options for parents/guardians.

5.         The cashless catering solution will remove the need to pay by cash which can lead to bullying when children carry their own dinner money to school.  It may support the take up of school meals by pupils.  It will remove cheque payment which sometimes results in bounced cheques for the service requiring a further payment from parents/guardians and additional processing costs for the Council.

6.         The Welsh Government has set guidelines on reducing stigma associated with free school meal provision within catering settings.  A system where all pupils purchase their food in the same way removes the stigma completely.

7.         Having sought 3 quotes for replacement solutions with existing suppliers this approach did not appear to provide the best value for money for the department or the Council.  It was subsequently decided that a tender be advertised through the appropriate framework agreements established by the Pro 5 Group of UK Local Authority purchasing consortia to obtain the best solution for the Council's requirements.

8.         Following advice and guidance from the Council’s procurement officer a tender will be advertised under the following Framework, Customer Access Agreement EPSO Framework Agreement 978 Cashless Catering System and Online Payment Solution.

Relevant Issues and Options

9.         The successful bidder must be capable of providing ongoing software updates as legislation and reporting changes within the school meals service.

10.      Payment of school meals in the 49 primary schools and 6 secondary schools will be via online, telephone and paypoint payments to facilitate families with/without access to a PC/Smart technology.

11.      The roll-out timetable will take effect from September 2013 to March 2015.  Each school will have a half term's notice of the implementation plan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      In order to procure and install the cashless catering and online payment solution an investment from Capital Project Fund will be requested to proceed. 

13.      All of the capital elements of the contract will be paid from the Project Fund which will be repaid within the 5 years of the contract.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      The Council will need to enter into a formal contract with the successful tenderer.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      There are no crime and disorder implications as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      There are no equal opportunities implications as a result of this report

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Provide, develop and maintain a resilient and efficient data/communications cashless catering and management information solution for the catering service and the Council.

18.      To provide and develop the strategic direction of the catering service with regard to its use of ICT in the delivery of its services, monitoring and reporting.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.      This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      Ward Member consultation has not been carried out as this project will not affect individual wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Healthy Eating in Schools (Wales) Measure 2009

Inquiry into Educational Outcomes for Children in Low Income Families

Contact Officer

Carole Tyley, Catering Manager, Vale Catering Services

Officers Consulted

Mike Walsh                           Legal

Gill Howells                          Finance

Neil Thomas                         Procurement

Bob Waldron                         Audit

Nick Wheeler                                    ICT

Chris Habberley                   ICT Education

James Rees                          Business Analyst

Annette Dawson                  Senior Admin & Finance Officer

Vanessa Cherryman           Asst Senior Admin & Finance Officer


Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Head of Service, Strategic Planning & Performance