Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme - Implementation and Operation Group minutes: 14 March 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme - Implementation and Operation Group held on 14 March 2022.


Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government, Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme (Chair) (SG)
  • Scottish Government, Early Learning and Childcare (SG, ELC)
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • ADES Early Years Network (ADES)
  • School and Nursery Milk Alliance (SNMA)
  • McQueens Dairies
  • Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA)
  • National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
  • Scotland Excel
  • ASSIST Facilities Management

Apologies

  • Scottish Government (SG, ELC)

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and members introduced themselves.

Minutes and actions from previous meeting

The group were content with the minutes from the previous meeting and were given an update on previous actions.

Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme (SMHSS) – judicial review and action log review

The chair provided an update on the recent judicial review and explained that existing arrangements under the Scheme will continue as they are until 1 April 2022 at which point interim measures will be put in place. From 1 April a new, higher national (combined) flat rate of 58.2p will be available to participating settings for the procurement of milk, non-dairy alternatives and healthy snacks. This higher combined rate for milk and snack is an interim solution pending a full consultation on a longer-term scheme and may change after the interim period concludes. The Chair invited feedback on updated guidance (shared with the group) for local authorities and child care settings which reflect these interim changes. (Action 1)

Members welcomed the increased amount and advised this would be helpful for some rural local authorities such as Argyll and Bute and expressed that the interim flat rate is an improvement on previous rate. SG advised they have budget for the interim flat rate for the financial year of 2022/2023. The Chair highlighted that a period of data collection and consultation will begin to develop a longer term scheme. The Chair confirmed that communication has been issued by SG highlighting the new interim national flat rate and invited members to share this with their networks.

Action log review

The group’s action log was discussed and an overview provided, though it was acknowledged that the work would need to be refocussed around supporting the delivery of a new, revised scheme following the judicial review. It was discussed that when thinking about a longer term scheme, it would be beneficial to understand more about how the current scheme is operating such as payment processes and food waste initiatives. It was suggested that there could be further work to promote the scheme and incorporating food education to encourage better habits for later life. (Action 2)

Terms of Reference

SG invited discussion on the group’s Terms of Reference and it was accepted that these will require amendment as work develops on a longer term scheme. All members were keen to continue to be part of the process. There was a discussion around expanding group representation and it was agreed that this would be beneficial. It was highlighted that NHS members, Food Standards Scotland and other food and drink representatives would be welcome additions. (Action 3)

Registration and mailbox update

Based on January 2022 returns from 27 local authorities, there are around 124,000 children of eligible age registered in settings enrolled for the scheme, which is around 65% of our estimated maximum. If July 2021 data was used for the missing local authorities, the total would be around 139,000 children or 73% of the estimated maximum. SG will issue a revised version of the registration data paper once all data returns are received. (Action 4)

The SMHSS mailbox continues to be monitored. Since the scheme launched there have been over 100 emails predominantly enquiring about registration and guidance. Other enquiries have been received by parents, settings and local authorities highlighting technical issues such as registration and eligibility. SG confirmed that a correspondence group for stakeholders who have an interest in the scheme and in the Implementation and Operation Group is up and running.

Any other business

No other business was discussed.

Date of next meeting

To be confirmed.

Summary of actions

  • Action 1: amended Terms of Reference to be circulated after the meeting to the group for consideration and comment
  • Action 2: SG to link in with internal colleagues around the Setting the Table guidance revision
  • Action 3: group to consider expansion of the Implementation and Operation Group to include additional stakeholders
  • Action 4: SG to issue a revised version of the registration data once all data returns received
  • Action 5: confirm date of next meeting
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