Summer holiday food, activities and childcare programme: guidance for local authorities

Guidance for local authorities and commissioned partners to assist in the development of a programme of coordinated access to childcare, food, and activities during the 2022 school summer holidays.

Annex B: Supporting Materials

Food Offer, Food Standards and Safety

All food provided as part of the programme must:

  • comply with regulations on food preparation:
  • take into account allergies and dietary requirements (see the allergy guidance for schools
  • take into account any religious or cultural requirements for food

There is flexibility in the design of the food provision which should be tailored to ensure that all food meets the dietary needs of the children and families who attend. The food served should also be appropriate for the nature of the session, for example, offering cold packed lunches for parks or outdoor venues or for day trips. While there can be benefits to using a central food service to provide meals to services, we expect local authorities to carefully consider whether using a central food service is the right approach for providing high quality, attractive and tailored food for those attending the programme.

Providing food on site can provide an opportunity to engage children and families in food preparation and nutrition. Providers have reported that when children are involved in designing menus and the preparation of food, they are more engaged and more willing to try new and healthier food.

We recommend that local authorities consider the provision of the food element of the programme, in particular, that providers and children are offered the opportunity to be involved in the planning and preparation of food. Such a developmental approach is key to effecting long-term change in engagement with food and nutrition.

There are also environmental factors to consider when planning the food provision and local authorities should consider whether clubs preparing food on their own premises would produce less food and packaging waste and result in fewer food-miles than off-site, centralised provision.

Food Standards & Safety:

Food information regulations - Natasha's Law:

From 1 October 2021, changes to the Food Information Regulations 2014 came into effect, adding new labelling requirements for food that is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS).

Local authorities should take the time to read the guidance on the Food Standards Agency website and ensure that all food provision for the summer programme meets these requirements.

Public Health Advice and Resources

For the most up to date health advice please visit NHS Inform. Further guidance is available from Public Health Scotland.

Staff, Volunteer and Service User Safety

Working with Children with Additional Support Needs

Some of the key points for local authorities and partners to consider when designing and implementing provision for children with ASN include:

  • Identifying the most vulnerable children, young people and families;
  • Making decisions and, where appropriate, delegate responsibility for decision making to different levels of the system to enable responsive support;
  • Speaking to families regularly to understand how their needs may have changed and may have continued to change;
  • Being flexible in supporting families;
  • Ensure staff are trained, supported and provided with appropriate equipment in order to provide flexible and responsive care in line with government guidance
  • Maintaining a positive level of trust in staff from a parent perspective and ensuring staff receive the right level of training from a provider perspective

Risk assessments are an important part of this provision and should be used as an enabler to providing support rather than a barrier. A good risk assessment which supports effective risk management and creative thinking will lead to different approaches to face-to-face support rather than support being withdrawn particularly for children, young people and families who are particularly vulnerable or at high risk.

There are many local and national organisations including special schools with expertise in working with children with ASN and we recommend that local authorities engage with them.

  • Education Scotland has produced an ASN Transition and COVID-19 guidance signposting to different areas of support for ASN specific needs in relation to the pandemic.

Signposting and Referrals

Providers should be able to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would benefit the children who attend their provision and their families. This could include sessions provided by:

Environment and sustainable delivery

Local authorities and other partners are encouraged to consider how sustainable development can be reflected in their ethos, day-to-day operations and throughout the delivery of their programmes.

Some practices that local authorities may wish to consider are:

  • Minimising the use of single-use plastics
  • Where possible using locally sourced food and ingredients
  • Making use of food surplus organisations
  • Ensuring there is a wide range of recycling and compost facilities for waste
  • Growing fruit and vegetables and showing how they can be used and cooked.
  • Encouraging uniform banks/exchange schemes
  • Encouraging active travel and use of public transport, promoting the young person's free bus travel scheme.
  • Encouraging children to engage with environmental issues and take a leading role in sustainable practices.

This list is not exhaustive and local authorities are invited to reflect on their settings and consider ways that their programmes can be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Useful reports and project examples:

  • The Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU) has produced a tool to support local mapping of out of school holiday provision. This may be useful for local authorities and other partners looking to better understand current provision in their areas: SPIRU Guidance
  • Young Scot's #YSAttain project provides access to leisure activities, food and travel for young people through the National Entitlement Card. More information and local authority case studies available here:
  • YouthLink - link to latest youth work delivery guidance is here: Face-to-face Youth Work | Frequently Asked Questions (

An independent evaluation of six youth work-led projects in different local authority areas in summer 2020, includes examples of activities successfully delivered remotely and digitally in the context of pandemic restrictions: food-insecurityreport_ proofed.pdf (



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