Now in its 31st year with a proud history behind it LACA -the school food people now faces a challenging period ahead, as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and seeks to help shape the Government agenda for the future of school food provision.
LACA was established in 1990 and is the leading professional body representing 550 catering managers in local authorities, private contractors and individual schools and academies. Its members are providers of school meals services within the primary and secondary schools of England, Wales and Scotland (the Northern Ireland region is currently dormant).
Since its inception, LACA has set out to inform, develop, represent and support its members through a range of initiatives and services. The membership is diverse, and includes public and private sector providers, client officers, dietitians and individual schools. There are also 250 associate members who are jointly responsible for the supply of over £400m per annum of food, drink, equipment and services to the school catering sector.
LACA has continued to lobby Government and has proudly achieved the status of the organisation the Government consults with in developing policies for school food.
With over 300 local authorities, county, district councils and London Boroughs represented in the membership, 80% of the catering service is provided by LACA members. And with around three million lunches being served every day in 27,000 schools, the LACA network is the country’s largest provider of school catering.
The organisation is a professional body, with members responsible for more than 110,000 staff employed in approximately 27,000 primary, special and secondary schools that provides services to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. It draws on the strengths of its membership nationally, largely managed through members on a voluntary basis.
There is a continuing need for all involved to work together to meet the mandatory food standards that apply to the school catering service, and thus make a major contribution to the health of future generations, and to ensure the security of the service and staff employed by attracting as many customers as possible.
LACA is made up of 11 active regions and seven working committees. It supports its membership by: involving members in a nationwide network; creating networking opportunities to facilitate the exchange of views and information; holding briefings, regional meetings and an annual conference that help to further the education and development of catering managers; operating a vibrant website (www.laca.co.uk), which includes a dedicated members-only section; and publishing an annual yearbook as an important reference source.
Meanwhile, each of the national committees has a specific set of aims, objectives and key representatives from the various regions. These groups are: Membership, Finance & Administration, Events and Communications and Marketing.
LACA vision and mission Statement:
"Together, we achieve excellence in school food"
LACA Ltd aims to set high standards of professionalism in Education catering; to be the lead consultative body to the Government in delivering healthy eating policies and to equip education caterers with the necessary skills, knowledge and support which will enable them to meet the changing demands of the industry sector.
"We are here to give everyone who provides catering within the education sector a voice – as well as the knowledge, resources and support to make nutritious and healthy food part of everyday life. We do this each day because great school food helps young people to thrive, concentrate, enjoy school and achieve more."
LACA Board of Directors
The Board is made up of the regional representatives together with the National Chair, the National Vice-Chairman, the Immediate Past Chairman and the Honorary Treasurer. The National Officers are elected from within the Board Members for a one year period of time - progressing from National Vice-Chairman to Chairman to Past Chairman - each volunteer committing three years to the national positions and ensuring continuity for the Association.
Board Members join one of four Working Groups - Events Group, Member Services Group, Communications Working Group or Finance & Administration Working Group. The Chair of each working group is elected by the Board (from the Board) for a period of two years.
The Working Groups have responsibility for various aspects of LACA activity (see later) and together with the National Chairman, the National Vice-Chairman and the Immediate Past Chairman form the National Steering Group.
National Steering Group
Role of the National Steering Group:
- To recommend annual budget
- To monitor operating costs
- To let contracts and manage services when required
- Income generation strategy
- Assessment of individual working group expenditure proposed (The Board of Directors will agree the annual budget)
- Co-ordinate LACA's response of national issues e.g. changes in legislation
- Overview/review of Business Plan and Targets
* Note: Each Working Group Chair is required to develop a plan and review of work programme with associated budget for approval at the commencement of the year (January) by National Steering Group Committee and subsequently the LACA Board
Each Working Group Chair will manage, monitor and authorise payments to third party providers for services carried out against their committee budget. They will also be actively involved in drawing up tender specifications and documents (led by the Chair of F&A Working Group) when sub-contracted work is put out to the market place.