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Derbyshire school catering service wins prestigious national technology award

Derbyshire County Council school catering service has been awarded the Best Use of Technology Award at the 2021 Foodservice Cateys.

The Foodservice Catey winners are selected by their peers and celebrate industry leaders and innovators.

The Best Use of Technology Award specifically recognises those organisations or individuals delivering technology innovation that makes a practical difference to their business.

Our catering service was celebrated as the winner of this category in recognition of its implementation of a new IT system across our 225 primary and junior school kitchens. The system revolutionised day-to-day operations including orders, deliveries and kitchen management.

From March 2020 the efficiencies created by the system – which included reduced lead times for food orders – helped our service provide 32,500 nutritious food parcels for vulnerable families across Derbyshire and some areas of Staffordshire during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic.

When schools reopened the IT system also helped to maintain safe ‘class bubbles’ by the efficient introduction of ‘Hot to Go’ menus for in-classroom dining and helped schools to return to standard menus through 2021.

Our Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Alex Dale said:

“This is a remarkable achievement in one of the most challenging times for our school catering service and recognises our ability to be innovative and flexible as well as highlighting how even more vital those skills are in a time of crisis.

“I’m extremely proud that the team has been awarded this prestigious technology award but even more proud of how they strive to ensure that school children across Derbyshire including those from the most vulnerable families continue to get a healthy nutritious meal whatever the circumstances.

“It is one of the ways in which we’re committed to giving children the best possible start in life and, as our catering service promotes, the importance of eating healthily and well in that journey cannot be underestimated.”

The previous winner of the Best Use of Technology Award was Aviva Stadium, the national stadium of Ireland, and other businesses that have claimed Foodservice Cateys include Manchester United Football Club, Searcys and London North Eastern Railway.

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