British Library

British Library

The British Library is the UK’s national library and holds one of the largest collections of printed material in the world. It attracts approximately 1.6 million visitors each year and has an annual catering turnover of circa £4million.

The British Library’s catering operation was split over two sites, St. Pancras and Boston Spa, Yorkshire. It was keen to modernise and extract greater commercial value from its existing catering spaces, implement new spaces and procure a catering solution that would partner and embrace the Library’s 2020 vision.

Background

The existing catering operation was split over two sites, St. Pancras and Boston Spa, Yorkshire which holds all of the library’s archives. The catering offering was varied and included a staff restaurant, internal hospitality, a public café and restaurant, conference centre management, vending and events catering. The Library was keen to modernise and extract greater commercial value from its existing catering spaces, implement new spaces and procure a catering solution that would partner and embrace the Library’s 2020 vision.

Brief

Litmus was bought on for an initial two-year period to support the scoping, planning, procurement and implementation of the Library’s new catering contract that would embrace the 2020 vision.  Litmus undertook the following activities:

  • A detailed competitor analysis that provided options/recommendations for new ways of thinking and delivery of alternative catering models;
  • Completed research on catering trends, innovations and user needs in order to deliver an options appraisal that would be used as the basis of the OJEU tender;
  • Supported the Library throughout the whole OJEU tender process, specifically in the design of appropriate specifications, supplier selection and evaluation; and
  • Prepared performance monitoring criteria and conducted scheduled compliance auditing of the new contract delivery.

Approach

Nigel Forbes, the Litmus Partnership, said: “The Library was keen to use the tender as an opportunity to diversify away from the usual industry contractors and encourage more SME’s to participate. We were fully involved throughout the entire OJEU tender process. The planning and procurement process took 18 months to complete and involved attending regular stakeholder meetings and close collaboration with the Project Board.”

Outcomes

The assignment concluded with the appointment of two relatively new SME’s to the market. As a consequence, Litmus was awarded a 12 month extension to provide additional support with the integration of the new contract.

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“We were pleased to stay on an extra year and provide additional support whilst the new contractor settled into the role. We are confident that our involvement has given the Library a stronger financial model, improved quality of food and service and a harmonious contractor relationship that will allow both parties to flourish way beyond 2020.” 

Nigel Forbes, the Litmus Partnership