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Blunder forces school meals deal re-tender

10 February 2006

West Berkshire Council has been forced to re-tender its school meals contract following a wrangle over paperwork.

The three-year primary and secondary deal, which turns over £1.2m a year across 68 schools, was won by independent caterer Dolce in July 2004. But Dolce managing director Dan Curtis said 10 members of the 170 catering staff were left off the tender documents - subsequently adding an unexpected £50,000 to the caterer's costs.

The tender information was provided by Hampshire County Council, the contract's previous operator. Curtis said: "We run the contract on a very slender margin and we couldn't do it for our original price."

Hampshire council denied it had provided incorrect information. A spokeswoman said: "In the very early documents a couple of people were missed off. But updated information was passed on to West Berkshire, who maybe didn't pass it on to the bidders."

West Berkshire council declined to comment.

By Tom Bill

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