Catering Consultants for The Metropolitan Police

Case Study Background

Police catering consultants - Ramsay Todd

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is the territorial police force responsible for law and order within Greater London, UK, excluding the square mile of the City of London. In addition they have significant responsibilities for UK wide activities, for example; counter terrorism and security of the Royal Family, Cabinet Office and Members of Parliament.

With a workforce of over 48,000 they are the largest police force in the UK and one of the largest in the world. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) provide the funding for the MPS and the Deputy Mayor, Sophie Linden, has responsibility for the MPS within her portfolio. 

Scope of our Catering Consultancy Contract

The MPS rationalised their food and beverage services from 35 to 14 locations in May 2016, in preparation for the catering services to be outsourced. The remaining 14 locations provide catering services to MPS officers and staff, comprising of:

  • Full breakfast service
  • Cafés in four sites
  • Hot and cold lunch service
  • Vending
  • Hospitality services
  • Operational feeding (planned and unplanned)
  • Detainee feeding in custody suites

The population of each location varies from 300 people on site to the largest at 4,000. One site operates on a 24/7 basis but normal operating hours are Monday to Friday, 7.30 to 15.00

The service with the highest importance is operational feeding, where officers are provided with hot or cold meals and beverages when assigned to operational duties. Our food service consultants took into account that operational feeding can be planned or unplanned. Planned activities include for example, policing for; the London marathon, Notting Hill Carnival and State visits. Unplanned activities could be providing officers with sustenance during a terrorist attack, riots or a state funeral. A mobile catering outlet is also deployed on request to support police activities such as crime scenes when officers may need to work long shifts out in the field.

In-House Catering Services v Contract Catering Services

The Metropolitan Police catering service was operated in-house until April 2017 employing over 170 catering staff. The cost of providing these services was in excess of £5 million per annum prior to outsourcing and this was reduced by £1.5 million when the subsidy was removed for staff feeding.

Catering Consultancy Services

The MPS required an interim project lead and subject matter expert to manage several key project areas;

a) Manage Closure programme for 21 catering sites and Voluntary Redundancy Process for circa 250 staff
b) Manage ITT process for remaining 14 catering sites
c) Write the Final Business Case (FBC) for MOPAC approval
d) Advise on kitchen design and food service delivery for Curtis Green (this building later became New Scotland Yard)

Ramsay Todd Ltd submitted a tender response and was awarded the contract, which commenced in January 2016. This was extended during the contract term to include support with; the creation of a contract management (Intelligent Client Function – ICF) team, MPS interface for the mobilisation period for the successful bidder and knowledge transfer for the transition period to the ICF.  As this was a long and complex engagement the key activities for each area are described below.

Catering Project Management

Using Prince2 methodology, the role of Catering Project Manager was undertaken, chairing the Catering Project Board meetings.  Project timelines were defined and progress was assessed on a weekly basis. The Board was comprised of representatives from support departments as well as the catering team and Senior Responsible User (SRO).

Key tasks completed within the catering service development were:

  • Creation and distribution of agenda
  • Assignment of responsibilities and actions, as well as the monitoring of progress made
  • Checking and distribution of minutes
  • Creation and updating of Risk and Issues Register
  • Escalation of serious Risks or Issues to the SRO
  • Obtaining sign off from the Project Board for the completion of key stages
  • Creation and completion of Lessons Learned Log

The outcome of the catering project management was that both the closure and outsourcing programmes were achieved with positive conclusions. The impact of slips to the project timetable was minimised and a clear audit trail of the performance of the Project Board is available should it be required within the MPS. 

Outsourcing Catering Services

The outsourcing of the full catering service at MPS to a single provider had not been carried out before. It was therefore decided by the MPS procurement team that, as a first generation procurement process, the Light Touch Regime dialogue process was to be used. Ramsay Todd Ltd had not been employed during the Market Engagement process or the writing of the Outline Business Case (OBC) however our involvement was required for the following areas:

1. Evaluation of the PQQ responses

2. Creation of the service specification and Descriptive Document

3. Engagement with stakeholders to obtain sign off of the Descriptive Document

4. Support to the finance team with the creation of the financial model and bidder templates

5. Support to the procurement team with the creation of the method statements for the ISOS and ISDS stages

6. Conducting of supplier site visits to the MPS and reference visits to shortlisted bidders

7. Subject matter expert for the Dialogue sessions

8. Evaluation of the ISOS and ISFT including the financial bids

9. Support to the procurement team with establishing the Heads of Terms

10. Support to the procurement team with the contract negotiations

The procurement process from the PQQ stage to the evaluation of the ISFT took 10 months to complete. Defining the complex nature of the services and establishing the stakeholder requirements ensured that bidders had sufficient information on which to base their submission. Moving to a nil subsidy option for staff feeding was therefore achieved and sufficient bidders engaged with the process to ensure a comprehensive analysis could be carried out.

Writing the Final Business Case (FBC)

Following the procurement process, an FBC was required to present to the Management Board of the MPS to obtain authorisation for the appointment of the catering services provider. Once approval had been given, further approval was required from MOPAC before the contract could be awarded.

The FBC had to conform to the Green Book process and therefore a detailed document was prepared. Wendy Sutherland presented the FBC to the Management Board along with the SRO acting as Subject Matter Expert, answering detailed questions from the Commissioner and members of the Management Board.

Following approval of the decision, the FBC was then presented to the Deputy Mayor, Sophie Linden and members of the MOPAC Investment Advisory Board. As the Subject Matter expert we answered questions around the decision and impact of the outsourcing, particularly to the catering staff.

Our detailed knowledge of the procurement process and the contract catering market ensured that sufficient information was available to satisfy the governance requirements leading to approval being granted.

New Scotland Yard Kitchen Design and Service Delivery 

The MPS moved from New Scotland Yard (NSY) in St James Park to its current location at Westminster in February 2017.  Our catering consultants services were required to support the design of the new catering offer and establish the operational framework.

Due to the infrastructure and investment challenges, we created a services briefing document which provided clarity for the Commissioner’s Office and managed expectations as to what catering services could be provided. Our involvement extended to equipment allocation, support to the NSY project team, and liaising with Parliamentary Estates to establish delivery routes.

The outcome was that the new café design has incorporated the elements stipulated by the MPS Management Board as well as ensuring the catering services provider is able to deliver a cost effective service.

Catering Contract Management Support

The MPS are developing a contract management approach within the organisation, which provides support for the catering service provider, along with ensuring the services are delivered as per the contract. (See Procurement Consultants for more on this service we provide).

Contract Catering Recruitment

It was decided that a dedicated catering ICF would be created to work in partnership with the catering provider.  Ramsay Todd Ltd provided input for identifying the technical and operational requirements of the role, using a format that would provide consistency across the MPS. During the contract catering recruitment process, we supplied subject matter expertise on the interview panel. 

Following the appointment of the ICF team, Ramsay Todd Ltd provided coaching for the Head of Catering ICF and the Relationship Manager to ensure they were able to fulfil their new roles. (See Catering Facilities Management Consultants for more on this service we provide). The outcome of our involvement was that a competent contract management model was in place, with both the MPS and service provider working together to make the outsourcing successful.

Mobilisation and Transition Support

In order for the service provider to be able to mobilise the 14 sites, there needed to be support provided by the MPS to facilitate the changes. Because of our extensive involvement in the procurement management process, Ramsay Todd Ltd was best placed to deliver this assistance, using our procurement consultants skills.

The key activities during this period were as follows:

  • Weekly project meetings with the Supplier’s Mobilisation Director
  • Introductions and liaison with key stakeholder groups with the Supplier, to facilitate; compliance with security requirements, IT implementation, forms of communication, branding of the staff feeding service, financial reporting, finalising details with end user groups and enabling changes to the facilities.
  • Point of contact for all requests related to the mobilisation and clarification of the service requirements
  • Attendance at meetings with Trade Union representatives
  • Support with TUPE process; supplier presentations to staff and liaison between MPS and Supplier HR teams
  • Information feed to the Catering Project Board to advise of progress and expected delivery dates

The mobilisation was successfully delivered over a 14-week period using a phased approach. The change was achieved with a minimum of upheaval and distress, and the supplier was able to implement the services as per their tender submission.

The transition period continued the work of facilitating and coordinating activities with an emphasis on knowledge transfer to the ICF. This period was focused on establishing the framework for contract management for both the MPS and the supplier, which translated the tender response into practice.


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