This letter was sent home to all families:
7th January 2016
Dear Parents/ Carers,
We would like to bring you completely up to date with the school meal catering contract. You will be aware that already we have had to delay the change-over of the contract from City Serve to AiP several times since September 2015. It is with the greatest of regret and some embarrassment that we are once again having to inform you of further delays in this process of transfer. The delays, as we have informed you of previously, are to do with the transfer of the current kitchen staff over to the new provider and ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in place, any equal pay claims have been indemnified and the unions agree it. We as a school have been pushing as much as we can to make this happen as quickly and as smoothly as it can, but we have been very much at the mercy of other groups of people; the age-old problem of red tape and bureaucracy has held us back considerably throughout. The wheels of change seem to grind even more slowly than we anticipated!
We, and all the groups of people involved, are continuing to work hard to overcome the difficulties. The people involved include our governors, senior leadership, both catering companies, an independent company who have been managing the whole process right through from tendering the contracts, Birmingham City Council, legal departments and then the unions. As you can hopefully see, the range of people who are contributing to the whole process is wide, varied and subsequently complicated.
We are now working towards a change-over later during this term – obviously depending heavily on the whole TUPE process having been adhered to correctly and thoroughly.
As this has now dragged on for several months we do feel that parents will need the chance to reconsider their options for preferences for school meals once again. We will therefore be looking to send the form out again nearer the transfer date once it has been agreed.
As we have outlined in the newsletter, we have continued to work with City Serve, the outgoing provider, to improve the current menus, meals and service in the interim period. The school has worked very closely with both the kitchen staff and their line manager at City Serve to do this and we will continue to do so until the transfer.
We do apologise profusely for these delays and realise how unsatisfactory the situation has been for children and parents – all we can say is that we are making sure every i is dotted and every t crossed before this change can take place both legally and practically. We ask you, our parents, to once again bear with us, and be assured that we are doing everything we possibly can to improve the meals provided for your children.
Many thanks for your understanding and patience.
Leadership Team of Harborne Primary School