For local councils, developing a new solution to benefit residents and service users can be an organisational minefield. In addition, as well as developing the initiative, councils have to maintain the delivery of sufficient self-sustaining cash flow.

With stakeholders, staff and communities all potentially contributing to the advancement of a particular project or service, ensuring that its development can progress without unworkable hitches can mean the difference between success and failure. Guaranteeing that return on investment is sound for a project to go ahead and be self-sustaining, whilst also ensuring that the needs of the public are consistently met, is also a key element of a new service.

Often, the community or sector to benefit from the service need to be consulted, through surveys or focus groups, to gauge reactions as well as thoughts and concerns for areas of improvement. Lengthy set-backs can take a toll on staff morale for a project, and ensuring staff remain engaged is a key area of focus too.

Co-Development for continuing catering services

We previously worked with the Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet to establish a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) for its catering services. The ‘Big Fresh Catering Company’ was designed to provide delicious, innovative food services for schools, business and events.

We were commissioned to provide a ‘checkpoint’ or ‘gateway’ review of the trading company’s progress to date, assessing the requirements and overall governance of the project, as well as the currency of the financial business case assumptions. It was also necessary to understand the Council’s readiness to initiate this service, and to gauge its ability to support this commercial activity.

By working collaboratively with the Project Team, as well as conducting on-site face to face interviews mixed with desktop reviews, we delivered a commercial assessment model. We were also able to identify a number of wider, added value, considerations for the Council that will inform its future project and commercial activity. This provided the best solution for the Council and was well received, enabling the Council to begin to address some of the accepted project issues immediately.

In addition to enhancing services to schools, as an LATC, the establishment of the Big Fresh Catering Company has enabled the service to become self-sustaining, while simultaneously establishing new income streams ensuring sustainability of the service and its staff, and enhancing the offer available to schools and pupils. All profits generated are then to be invested straight back into the schools which use the service. This has therefore removed the Council’s existing liability for the services revenue budget, without the need for future subsidiaries.

C.Co’s contribution to the establishment of the Big Fresh Company has enabled the company to be the success it is today, transforming and developing the Council’s catering services for the future.

Tom Bowring, Operational Manager – Performance & Policy at the Vale of Glamorgan Council, commented: “We found working with C.Co to be really valuable in re-energising our LATC project. They brought valuable experience, along with a sense of momentum, that allowed us to take forwards the recommendations and deliver a successful project.”

How we can help you develop

At C.Co, we have a vast range of experience in development, change and transformation projects.

Our team works flexibly and collaboratively to help develop workable opportunities and solutions that not only deliver in the short term, but in the long term too.

We focus on contributing to and improving project or serviced outcomes through evidenced-based findings, providing solutions which will ensure a positive impact with the local community, stakeholders and staff, but always with a commercial basis in mind.


Contact our team of professionals to see how we can work with you on your next project.