Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|28 Apr 2020, 2:56 p.m.||Free School Meals: Coronavirus||Siobhain McDonagh|
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what process his Department used to select the provider for the free school meal voucher programme during the covid-19 outbreak.
Answer (Vicky Ford)
The contract for the national free school meals voucher scheme was let against Crown Commercial Service framework RM6133. The successful provider is the sole provider on the framework and direct awards are permitted action. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered – in this case, vouchers.
The vouchers can currently be spent in a variety of supermarkets. Initially, the scheme includes supermarkets that already have e-gift card arrangements in place with Edenred, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose. On 21 April, we were pleased to confirm that Aldi will be added to the list of supermarkets from the week commencing 27 April. We are working to see if additional supermarkets can be added to this list as soon as possible. Where families are unable to access any of these supermarkets, schools are able to buy vouchers for other retailers and we have published guidance setting out how we will compensate schools who incur additional costs in providing free school meals or vouchers to pupils affected by COVID-19.