Glasgow poised to create significant player in Scottish catering market

15 October 2008 by
Glasgow poised to create significant player in Scottish catering market

Officials at Glasgow City Council will vote next week on whether to green-light the creation of a significant new player in the catering market in Scotland.

Glasgow's Direct and Care Services has an annual turnover of £154m and 9,000 employees operating in the cost and profit catering sectors, providing school meals to event catering and banqueting.

Under current plans the council is considering setting the business up as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), which would see the new entity operating at arms length from local government with far more commercial freedom.

At present council caterers are restricted in the amount of business outside their local authority remit they can bid for but this is not the case for an LLP.

Fergus Chambers, executive director of Direct and Care Services, said: "This will create a significant player in the catering market effectively overnight. Some caterers might feel threatened about this but I believe competition is healthy."

LLP status is seen as a solution to dealing with the imposition of the equal pay ruling for councils introduced two years ago, which has increased wage bills significantly.

Architects of the scheme say a switch to LLP status will provide operational and commercial freedom, new business opportunities and through flexible working improved productivity.

The council's development and scrutiny committee will vote on the 21 October on the proposals and whether to recommend them to the council's executive for a final vote on the 31 October.

Glasgow council will retain a 99.9% share in the LLP with the other 0.1% held by a company owned by the local authority, meeting the partnership requirement of the scheme.

Row erupts over free school dinners in Scotland >>

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Caterersearch profile: Fergus Chambers >>

Direct and care services profile >>

By Chris Druce

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