School Catering Tender

Coventry South 6 Cluster Group

We were asked by the Coventry South 6 cluster group if we could help them tender for their new catering contract for their schools and fast!

We had recently joined forces with Espo to offer schools our joint expertise in a quick, simple and competitive route to outsource/procure any services and contracts so this method was ideal for this cluster group.

The frameworks are all EU/UK compliant so there was no need to run a full EU tender. Suppliers that are listed on the framework have been assessed during the procurement process for their financial stability, track record, experience, technical ability and professionalism.

SJ Solutions worked directly and quickly with the cluster group schools to acquire all their requirements and specification. We pulled together all the required information including the kitchen inventories for the tender. Site visits were led and managed by us and we kept the school informed at all times.
The tender documentation allowed for accurate comparisons and an analysis of each company’s offer to the schools, thus ensuring that like-for-like performance was being compared within the analysis. We led the shortlisting alongside the cluster group to decide who would be invited to interview and present to the panel.

Food tasting sessions for pupils, staff and parents of all schools was led by SJ Solutions and proved to be a very insightful day for all those involved including the catering suppliers invited along. Questionnaires were provided on the day to obtain feedback which was very useful for the following presentations to the panel with the questions prepared by us.

Finally a decision was made who to award the contract to by the school’s panel and then SJ Solutions handled the contract on behalf of the cluster group and liaised with the awarded supplier to ensure a smooth handover especially with TUPE.

As part of our ongoing commitment to schools we continued to monitor the new catering company’s performance on behalf of the school and reporting back any issues that have arisen.
Manor Park Primary School in Coventry is a 3FE school who was facing the challenge of the Local Authority withdrawing its school catering service with very short notice. Although there was the option of moving across to a comparable service from a neighbouring Local Authority, we felt that we needed to look for an alternative provider, as we were increasingly disappointed with the quality of meals and the service that we were receiving. As this was a worrying time for our school in terms of the whole tendering process and daunted by the workload involved, we joined with three cluster schools to support each other to secure the best catering provider. As a group we employed SJ Solutions to manage the whole process. This was the best decision that we made. SJ Solutions offered us a first class service from beginning to end of the process. They met with the cluster headteachers regularly to listen to our requirements whilst efficiently carrying out all the necessary tasks involved, including supporting us with the shortlisting and interview process. The process was so much easier and successful than we ever anticipated! We are delighted with our new catering provider and SJ Solutions have sorted out any initial snagging with them on our behalf swiftly and competently. I recommend them without reservation and am already using them on our next project!!
JILL O’CONNOR
Headteacher