Justice food suppliers streamlined for improved efficiency, value and quality

In Serco’s Justice business we spend millions of pounds every year to feed the people in our care. The food ordered includes everything from fresh vegetables, meat, bread, soups and frozen ingredients.

Over the course of a year, Serco’s central Procurement team reviewed all six food suppliers, including the existing sole supply contract held with one company. A review of product pricing and benchmarking against other suppliers saw the team realise there was an opportunity to make our food supply arrangement more competitive and to align ourselves with the Ministry of Justice’s main food supplier, Bidfood.

Working closely with the catering manager and contract director from each prison and IRC, and the business’s senior leadership team, Procurement went through a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process before making any recommendations. Due to the coronavirus pandemic prisons were in lockdown, so the team organised for new suppliers to send food product samples to each prison and arranged a virtual tasting session and cooking demonstration for the catering managers. By incorporating the feedback from the business, the Procurement team was able to reduce the number of food suppliers from six down to one.

As a result of changing food suppliers for our prisons to Bidfood, the Procurement team created an annual saving of several hundred thousand pounds several hundred thousand pounds and secure further savings on food supplies for other business units in the UK. The ongoing competitive tension created through this process means the Procurement team can drive fair market pricing in the future and contribute to the more efficient operation of Serco’s overall business in the UK. ​​​​​​​

As well as saving money, the new agreement with Bidfood means that our prisons have a safer and improved food supply offering, with a central view of allergen control and an easier way of handling special dietary requirements. Feedback from the business has been overwhelmingly positive, with everyone from senior operations managers down to the catering team happy with the changes.