Maidstone Grammar School
Maidstone Grammar School, based in Kent, is like an extended but close-knit family. It is a boys’ school which admits girls into the sixth form. Their aims are the same as every family: to keep their children and young people safe, to meet their needs, to build ties and bonds within the wider community and support them in times of challenge and adversity. This includes developing morals and fostering patience, humility, courage, ambition, drive and enthusiasm. They respect individuals and individuality but share common goals, beliefs and values, irrespective of age, gender or background.
The catering services at Maidstone Grammar School were considered ‘fit for purpose’ but the contract had been in place for some years and the school was keen to test the market to ensure they were achieving best value from their catering services. The main objective was to find a high quality solution that was tailored to their student population. The school was interested in moving their already ‘good’ solution – to a ‘great’ solution.
The objectives of Litmus’ engagement were to:
- Manage the entire tender process in line with OJEU procedures;
- Understand the current catering solution at each school and assess this against the actual requirement, going forwards, focussing on highlighting areas for improvement;
- Developing a bespoke catering specification for the school, focussing on their target audience of a predominantly male student population;
- Provide a forum for raising issues and facilitate problem solving;
- Act as a consultative body for Head teachers and other stakeholders;
- Ensure best value was achieved; and
- After the tender provide ongoing dedicated monitoring of the contracted service to ensure compliance with the contract.
Rachel O’Grady, the Litmus Partnership, said: “We started by meeting with the School and understanding their student’s needs. From here, we created a tender which highlighted these needs and ensured a higher quality service would be put in place.
“Following an OJEU-compliant selection process we identified suitable bidders, and once responses to the tender were in, we went over a detailed financial evaluation of each one via our LTMS electronic portal – identifying anomalies and errors and providing a concise ‘user friendly’ like for like comparison of the bids. All shortlisted bidders were invited to present, which gave the opportunity to drill down on the detail of their submissions.”
The catering contract was successfully awarded in 2018 providing a more varied and bespoke offer for the boys, with a dedicated management team delivering stronger more effective guidance to the incumbent staff ensuring a consistent high quality service.
“Investment was also secured as part of the new solution where quality food is being served under an improved catering area within the school.”