Cabinet have agreed to operational changes to the Community Meals Service – which will present no change for customers but will deliver significant annual savings for the Council.
A report to Cabinet on Thursday, January 25, put forward proposals which will deliver savings of £258,000 each year. The changes, which have now been agreed by Cabinet, include the number of Community Meals production kitchens across the County Borough being reduced from three to one.
The kitchen at Ynyshir will be retained, while facilities at St. George’s Day Centre in Tonyrefail and St. Mair’s Day Centre in Aberdare will no longer be used for the Community Meals Service. These operational changes will not reduce the existing level of provision offered by the service.
The service will continue to deliver freshly-cooked meals on weekdays, but another change agreed by Cabinet will see frozen meals delivered for the weekend – rather than ‘blast chilled’ meals. The provision of frozen meals will enable a greater menu choice for customers improving the variety on offer.
A final change concerns arrangements for the provision of meals at St. Mair’s Day Centre in Aberdare and Mountain Ash Day Centre – which are both currently provided by the Community Meals Service.
Cabinet have agreed that responsibility for meals at St Mair’s is transferred to voluntary organisation Age Connects Morgannwg, as part of an ongoing community asset transfer of the centre. Meanwhile, Mountain Ash Day Centre meals will be transferred to Community Services, which currently manages catering staff at the five other Day Centres in the County Borough.
County Borough Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Catering Services, said: “This reconfiguration of the Council’s Community Meals Service will save the Council more than a quarter-of-a-million pounds, while having no effect on the service which customers currently receive.
“The reduction of the number of production kitchens is a move which conforms to the Council’s Corporate Plan – to find new cost-effective ways of delivering services efficiently. Fewer meals are now produced at the kitchens – a drop by 29% on weekdays and 66% for weekends in the last five years.
“As a result, the number of kitchens will be reduced from three to one. This change will require a one-off capital cost of £180,000, but will deliver greater savings per year for the Council. Ynyshir is the facility best-placed to serve the whole County Borough going forward.
“Cabinet also agreed a change in method of preserving weekend meals. Frozen meals have already been delivered on weekends as a necessary course of action in the past – and the service received no complaints from customers. This change will see the Council continue to offer a community-based service that is efficient, effective and good value for money.”
Posted on Tuesday 30th January 2018