Huntingdon Council Case Study

Huntingdonshire District Council

Catering services review at district councils by Ramsay ToddHuntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is based in the town of Huntingdon and their services extend to the adjoining towns of St Ives, Godmanchester, St Neots and Ramsey. HDC provide a full range of services to their residents ranging from Bins, Waste and the Environment through to Transport.

Catering services are provided at several locations throughout the District and consist of workplace meals for Council employees, refreshments for Council members and facilities at the leisure centres.  The key areas of interest for the project were staff catering at Pathfinder House in Huntindon, Hinchingbrooke Country Park and Café Zest in the Leisure Centres.

All catering services were operated in-house with the exception of Pathfinder House.  The staff catering contract was reaching the end of its term and therefore a review was commissioned to determine what options were available to HDC.

Ramsay Todd Ltd was engaged initially to conduct a strategic review of the catering services, to ascertain the future requirements of the catering services.  The review was designed to support the strategy for the supply of catering services across Huntingdonshire District Council for a three to five year period with a focus on finding the most cost effective approach.

The review was carried out in May 2013 and the report presented by Ramsay Todd Ltd produced six options for HDC to consider and after consideration HDC decided to tender all of the services.  Ramsay Todd Ltd was then engaged to provide specialist support for the procurement process.

In July 2013 work commenced on the tender process and Ramsay Todd Ltd was responsible for providing an outline of the tender specification.  This was carried out and the tender was issued in October 2013.

As a result of revised financial priorities during 2013 the tender process was postponed in November of that year.  It was decided at the end of 2014 that the in-house services would not be included in a catering tender and in January 2015 a tender was issued for a nil (subsidy) cost catering service at Pathfinder House for staff, members and visitors.

During the final stage of the tender process Ramsay Todd Ltd provided consultancy support for:

  • Evaluating the tender submissions
  • Interviewing the tenderers
  • A brief overview of the risks associated with engaging the preferred supplier

A new contractor has been engaged from April 2015, who is prepared to fulfil the nil cost requirements.

This assignment was unusual in that the work carried out reflected the revised priorities of the council over a lengthy period of time.  However HDC appreciated the support provided and the flexibility shown by Ramsay Todd Ltd.