Time up for dinner time?
We're half a year on from when we reported that two Devon primary schools were scrapping hot school meals because they said they could not afford to buy them any more.
It now transpires that more than 60 of Devon's schools have quit the newly privatised service. More than a dozen now provide no hot meals at all, except where there is a statutory obligation to help children from families on benefit.
Information Request 02597
Please could you tell me how many county schools have opted out of the school meals service since September 2011 when the county council outsourced the meals to Devon Norse?
Devon County Council's response
Between September 2011 and April 2012, 64 schools decided not to receive their school meals service from Devon Norse.
And from the Devon Norse website:
In these times of economic pressure, Norse's pioneering approach to helping local authorities maintain high standards of service delivery will save Devon County Council money, protect local jobs and contribute to the local economy.
Looking for new, cost-efficient ways of working, Devon County Council was attracted to Norse's combination of public sector experience and commercial flair. The council believes these skills will develop the Joint Venture's business to everyone's benefit.
Devon Norse has responsibility for delivering cleaning services to schools and various NHS sites and civic buildings, along with catering at many of the county's schools and for civic functions.
Devon County Council said none of this was anything of their business - schools manage their own budgets, and questions about meals should be addressed to the service provider.
Anyone for politics? All I need now is a quote from Jamie Oliver and the job's done...