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Four UK regions awarded funding to kick-start innovative new public sector food procurement

Four regions of the UK have been awarded funding to support the supply of sustainable local food to public institutions. Short food supply chains have been shown to lower carbon emissions, boost the local economy and support smaller producers while bringing fresh seasonal produce to kitchens.

Dynamic Purchasing UK Food (DPUK), the national body supporting Dynamic Food Procurement - a model that uses smart technology to enable SME producers to supply into large public institutions – believes the approach can make a meaningfully positive difference for years to come. DPUK is to become a Lead Buying Organisation to accelerate the approach taken by autonomous regional buying organisations.

Ellen Bright is one of the Coordinators at DPUK. She said “We are hearing from all around the country that the momentum for implementing Dynamic Food Procurement is strong within local authorities, schools, and universities. There is also strong interest coming from other sectors. From Argyll to London and from Sunderland to Exeter: the exciting transition to Dynamic Food Procurement is now underway. DPUK is delighted that an initial group of four regional partners - The West Midlands, The South West, The North East of England and Scotland- have been successful in receiving funding support from The Dixon Foundation.”

Amy Whight, Grants Manager, The Dixon Foundation said “We are proud to be investing in the transition to short, sustainable, food supply chains in the public sector to help meet our environmental goals. We look forward to seeing the progression of Dynamic Food Procurement in these regions.”

Greg Parsons, Director of the South West Food Hub, is now sharing the news with SME producers right across the region: “We extend our gratitude to The Dixon Foundation for this funding. It is going to have a hugely positive impact on this region when matched by committed anchor institutions here.”

Scotland’s grant award winner, Jayne Jones, Commercial Manager at Argyll and Bute Council said “We’re delighted The Dixon Foundation recognises the potential for Dynamic Food Procurement here in Scotland. This award will fund a mapping exercise to prepare the ground for us to procure more of our food via short supply chains direct from Scottish SME producers.”

Bright also pointed out “…what is particularly encouraging is that, with or without philanthropic funding, there are examples of anchor institutions prioritising the necessary resources to move ahead on the road to implementing Dynamic Food Procurement.”

To help with the next steps, DPUK is currently undergoing a transition to become a Community Interest Company with a mission to act as a Lead Buying Organisation to support regional buying organisations with their own, autonomous approach to Dynamic Food Procurement. Since its formation last year, DPUK has acted as a coordinating body to bring information and support to people in each region of the UK committed to implementing Dynamic Food Procurement.

Over the past few months, DPUK has been consulting on the most effective and efficient approach to enabling autonomous regional buying organisations to form to implement Dynamic Food Procurement. Following legal and commercial advice and considerations, DPUK is transitioning from its current entity as a Limited Company with a single Director; Glenn Woodcock, to become a Community Interest Company with multiple Directors, Members and Shareholders made up predominantly by public sector Officers of Anchor Institution procurement and commercial managers.

DPUK’s immediate task is to evolve to become a Buying Organisation capable of implementing Dynamic Food Procurement. Glenn Woodcock, DPUK’s founding Director is delighted with this development: “Officers, with experience of having implemented Dynamic Food Procurement themselves, have stepped forward to do the heavy lifting required to establish DPUK CIC as a Lead Buying Organisation for the UK. The aim for this new entity will be to act as a lead Buying Organisation and provide support to all regions of the UK; to both existing Buying Organisations and newly formed autonomous Buying Organisations. This support will initially focus on the key aspects of procuring Technology and Managing Agent services, a critical pre-requisite to effective implementation of Dynamic Food Procurement. Willing and able catering operations in every region of the UK will soon be able to benefit.”

DPUK will continue to collaborate closely with DEFRA, the NFU, The Soil Association and Sustain via The National Advisory Board for Dynamic Food Procurement. DPUK will also shortly be releasing a guidance pack on how to establish and run a successful regional food hub.

DPUK exists to support the public sector in implementing Dynamic Food Procurement. Email us at info@dpukfood.co.uk to access support and guidance.

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