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Kent looks for new schools bids

04 May 2006

Kent County Council has become the latest local authority forced to re-tender its school meals contract after a dismal response from bidders.

The three-year deal, which is the UK's largest, has a turnover of about £9m but has received bids for only 70 of its 405 schools.

The contract, starting from 1 August, was previously run by Initial Catering but is now split into 22 clusters of schools.

Simon James, managing director of Initial Catering, said the company had not re-bid because the contracts were not "sufficiently acceptable or financially viable".

Mark Sleep, client services manager at Kent County Council, said he would meet five caterers this week, including Initial and Compass division Scolarest, to find a way forward. "We'll look at it again and may need to tweak some of the specifications," he said.

Last month Bracknell Forest council in Berkshire received no bids for its school meals service.

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