Review to look at ways to improve small business access to public sector food contracts: Tell us your views

Review to look at ways to improve small business access to public sector food contracts: Tell us your views
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 9th Apr 2024

Environment secretary Steve Barclay has appointed Will Quince MP to conduct a review into improving food procurement in the public sector

One area of his work is looking at ways to make the system more accessible to small and medium businesses and farmers, by helping them to win public sector contracts.

The review will also look at how the government can further promote high standards for food and catering services, in locations such as hospitals and local authority settings, and consider opportunities to extend the reach of the existing framework, the government buying standard for food and catering services, particularly to education settings.

Will Quince said:

"Public bodies spend around £5bn on food every year so it's right that we look at opportunities to boost the impact food procurement has on the environment and the local community.

“Whether it's schools, our armed forces, hospitals, prisons or local councils, I look forward to working with all those involved in the production, buying, cooking, serving and consumption of food in public bodies to identify the ways in which we can deliver on our commitments on climate, nature and health and considering the benefits of, and barriers to delivering food that is fresh, local and sustainable."

In 2022, the Department for Food, Environment & Rural Affairs consulted on possible changes to public sector food and catering policy. The proposals included efforts to open up contracts to more small businesses.

Among the ideas were breaking contracts down into smaller lots to help businesses with limited product ranges, allowing small, local suppliers to provide goods to organisations as nominated suppliers alongside larger suppliers, and contracting authorities influencing tier 1 suppliers to promote SMEs within their supply chains.

The government has not yet published a response to the consultation.

Share your views on improving small business access to public sector food procurement

Enterprise Nation wants to hear from small businesses already applying for public sector food contracts, businesses wanting to access food contracts and experts advising food firms.

We will use your views to inform the government's latest review.

If you have opinions and experiences to share on the process for bidding for contracts, email Dan Martin on

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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