Cateys 2011: Public Sector Caterer Award – Derek Johnson

15 July 2011
Cateys 2011: Public Sector Caterer Award – Derek Johnson

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The winner of this year's award clearly demonstrated an outstanding and long-term commitment to the public sector and has made a significant difference to service users in the UK.

Derek Johnson is employed by Leeds City Council as principal catering manager, overseeing the community meals service and providing catering expertise to residential and day-care establishments.

His CV is impressive. In the past two decades he has worked for two other local authorities and has experience in private sector catering, the travel sector and pubs.

As with other winners of this particular Catey, Johnson gives a generous amount of his own time to serve the industry at large. For instance, he sits on boards such as Healthcare Caterers International and for the past seven years, he has held the post of deputy chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC).

Vic Laws, director of AVL Consultancy, said: "Derek has dedicated a lot of his personal time to NACC and has seen it develop into one of the foremost associations in the care sector. Through his guidance, NACC has now got a voice with the Government and is able to make a real difference to the life of the elderly, whether they are at home or in care."

Besides his day job, Johnson also organises the Care Cook of the Year competition, edits the Caterercare Yearbook and co-ordinates National Meals on Wheels week.

His other achievements include being involved in the "No one should go hungry campaign", which was built around the 10 recommendations emerging from the Nutrition and the Role of the Community Report.

This is not the first time his skills, honed through hard work and dedication, have been recognised by his peers. In 2001, for instance, he won Cost Sector Caterer Social Caterer of the Year award.

Indeed, Johnson's passion for the service, which for many years was under threat, has helped to turn its fortunes around. Not only do more people now benefit from a seven-day service, but with an eye to its future, he has helped the meals-on-wheels service to release more than £350,000 of resources back into the Adult Services Department.

When you consider that 81% of the deaths recorded between December 2009 and March 2010 were pensioners, many suffering cold-related deaths, you realise what a tough and ongoing job Johnson and his team face every day.

ShortlistedAlberto Crisci, founder/trustee, The Clink Charity
â- Derek Johnson, principal catering manager, Leeds City Council
â- Ken Paul, director, Dungavel Immigration Removal

The JudgesBeverley Baker, head of commercial services, Surrey County Council
Sue Hawkins, care catering services manager, Dorset County Council
Roger Kellow, government account manager, Hobart UK
Vic Laws, director, AVL Consultancy
Alison McCree, associate director of facilities, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Rick Wilson, director of nutrition and dietetics, King's College Hospital

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