Renfrewshire Council wins national excellence award for school meals service

Renfrewshire Council’s catering team has scooped ‘Best Service Team’ of the year at a top national awards ceremony.

The catering team won the award after judges praised the successful transformation of its school meal service, which has attracted pupils back with new menus and innovative dining options.

The catering team provides healthy, nutritious meals across the council’s 65 pre-five centres, primary, secondary and additional support need schools. Over the past two years it has trialled new ways of delivering its school meals service introducing a more flexible approach with its ‘grab & go’ menus in primary schools, ‘dine in days’ and cafe style eateries in secondary schools.

APSE award

The new formats have proved popular with pupils and where implemented have lead to an increase in the numbers of young people opting for school meals.

The accolade of ‘Best Service Team – Catering’ was awarded by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), which promotes the local authorities from across the UK that have continued to improve services for residents or raise standards through innovation.

Renfrewshire Council topped the list of finalists beating other catering teams from the likes of North Lanarkshire, North Tyneside and Wrexham councils to the title.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s thanks to the input from our catering staff that we’ve been able to improve and update our school catering service. Moving away from the traditional format of a sit-down meal served in the dinner hall to a more informal, self-serve approach has been highly effective. It is a lot more appealing for pupils and gives our young people access to a greater range of healthy, nutritious and affordable food options.

“The catering team, which employs around 300 part-time employees, should be proud of what it has achieved. This APSE award is thoroughly deserved and I hope it inspires them to continue seeing the benefits of the changes taking place in Renfrewshire’s school canteens and dining halls. ”

Renfrewshire Council was listed as a finalist in three other APSE award categories:

* ‘Best Partnership Working Initiative’ for its Community Safety Hub;

* ‘Best Service Team – Construction & Building’ for building services, which recently achieved the Investors in People gold standard for business improvement; and

* ‘Overall Service Team of the Year’ for improved service delivery across all council services.

Information and photograph courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.