Monthly Archives: May 2014

ABBOTSHOLME School has won a major national award for its catering service and the food on offer to pupils.

The Rocester boarding and day school was awarded a Gold CAP Award for the third year running for its exceptional standards.

The CAP (Continuing Advancement Programme) Awards recognise excellence in catering and are regarded as the highest measure of quality, safe best practices and service.

Headmaster Steve Fairclough said the catering team was delighted with the award.

He said: “This Gold Award is recognition of the hard work of the catering team and I want to congratulate each and every one of them. The food and the quality of service available here to the pupils is of the very highest standard.

“We are most fortunate that we are surrounded by our own working farm and we are passionate about delivering ‘farm to fork’ food – the highest quality possible.”

Ian Jackson, managing director of the CAP Awards said, the catering team at Abbotsholme had impressed him with their attention to detail.

He said: “The food on offer was superb. The sauce with the home-made meatballs was beautifully balanced at supper, the chocolate sponge and fudge sauce at lunch was moist and full of flavour and the lunch time home-made soup stilton and broccoli divine.


“The service was also excellent and staff seemed to have a good interaction and relationship with the pupils creating a wonderful, friendly atmosphere. They are worthy winners of a Gold Award.”


The School has also recently invested in improving the dining room and servery.


The award comes as Abbotsholme celebrates its landmark 125th anniversary. Lots of events and activities are happening to celebrate this, leading up to the official birthday on 1st October 2014.


At the heart of the anniversary year is a campaign to build an Astroturf which will be situated at the front of the school near the car parks. To do this the school needs to raise £250,000. For more details go to


A RECENT Panorama investigation claimed the NHS loses billions of pounds each year to fraudsters, contractors who dupe the service out of valuable resources.

The BBC show suggested that rogue suppliers are exploiting their position and pocketing the cash which could instead be used to employ 330,000 new nurses.

Predictably this leads to a debate on the merits of out-source versus in-house services and what is the best model for the NHS?

But this is to miss the point.

The real issue here, and this is the same for both the NHS and the independent care home sector in which we work, is the quality of the contract monitoring in place.

At the CAP Award Programme we work in partnership with care homes to monitor the quality and performance of their housekeeping and catering teams – be it an in-house or an out-source service.

In fact the experience of the CAP Award shows that neither out-sourced nor in-house provides a higher percentage of our Gold, Silver, or Bronze award winners – or even below benchmark performance. 

Indeed the lowest to-date catering score was an in-house catering service and the lowest housekeeping score was an out-sourced service.  However the experiences do show continuous progression through the consistent qualitative measuring of the end-user received service, coupled with financial benchmarking.

In short, where effective contract monitoring is in place, costs are controlled and the quality of the service enjoyed by care home residents improves – food gets better and homes become cleaner.

Intelligent target setting (key performance indicators and operating criteria) provide all parties with clear, concise rules of engagement, and as the CAP Award Programme has shown, provides staff motivation as they know their team goals, be it risk or reward.

Ultimately whether monitoring an in-house or out-source service the responsibility sits with the client, in this case the care home provider, and it is essential that they have the required operational experience and the understanding to know what look for.

With ever increasing pressures on budgets those care home providers which appreciate the power of monitoring and evaluation will ultimately deliver a better quality service for their residents, enjoy a competitive advantage and avoid the type of financial mishap which seems to have blighted the NHS.