London Borough of Havering: Catering Service Transformation

Havering London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Havering in Greater London. The Council provides a range of services to over 200,000 residents living in the borough. Havering Catering Services is the Council’s traded service providing school meals to over 60 state-maintained schools and academies. 

The Council required Programme Management support to implement transformation proposals to improve service performance, customer standards and profitability of the catering services business. 

CMI worked closely with the newly appointed head of catering to define the stages of the transformation and the required outcomes at each stage to deliver the recommendations of the service review.

The plan was designed to prioritise quick wins in terms of customer service improvement, compliance and staff morale over the longer term benefits. 

A simple Programme Management structure and approach was established to define the relevant workstreams and the associated governance with minimum impact to business as usual activity.

The service was completely restructured to reduce workload on area managers and give them greater accountability for service performance. Additional support was provided to school-based catering staff including investment in training and equipment to improve morale and performance. New investment was also secured for school catering facilities through the engagement with other Council services to build a wider understanding of the service and benefits.

The service fully complied with internal audit reviews and was a benchmark within the Council for change. The changes turned around the service financial performance and eliminated the need for the £1.5M annual subsidy. 


London Borough of Havering Director, Mary Phillips stated,

‘CMI’s recommendations included a complete service restructure, more support and training for school-based catering staff, better equipment and engagement with internal Council services leading to kitchen infrastructure support investment’. She continued, ‘the outstanding changes CMI helped us achieve enabled us to U-turn our service financial performance and steer away from a £1.5m annual subsidy.’

Skills Used

Organisational Design

Programme Management

Project Leadership

Stakeholder Management