Decision details

School Drinking Milk Contract

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes


To provide a contract to supply drinking milk to nursery and primary school children during term time on behalf of participating schools and education settings.




1. approval be given to the request to re-commence the procurement of the next School Drinking Milk Contract


2. approval be given to the request for a waiver of council standing orders to extend the current contract by 3 months


3. that the new contract is re-let as an Individual Cabinet member decision


4. that the complexities of managing a cost neutral service while making the best decision for schools and pupils in relation to the council’s zero carbon commitment be noted.

Reasons for the decision:

The daily service of dairy drinking milk is part of the school food

standards (The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014).

Further reviews by the government-appointed School Food Review Panel

in 2013 recommended that every child should be given the opportunity to

have additional calcium and nutrients during the day, provided by milk.

Daily provision of drinking milk was therefore made a statutory duty from

January 2015 as part of the main body of the school food standards that

have been introduced in stages from 2005.


By procuring a contract on behalf of schools, the statutory duty is met.


Other Ofsted-registered settings such as eligible day care facilities

including children’s residential homes can also take advantage of this

contract for a service over 190 days per year. The definition of eligibility

is set out in the Nursery Milk Scheme and the School Milk Subsidy

Scheme. These Government schemes were created to ensure

compliance with Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European

Parliament and of the Council - Articles 22, 26 to 28, and 217. By

procuring a service that can include these settings at the same time as

schools, it offers better value for money for other day care providers.


When a drinking milk service is provided, it can be made available free of

charge to children under 5 due to an EU subsidy from the Nursery Milk

Reimbursement Unit. By virtue of s512ZB of the Education Act 1996,

those children who are eligible for a free school meal because of their

family income, any milk provided must also be free of charge. By

providing such a service, the youngest and the most vulnerable children

can receive additional nutrients and hydration during the day, which

contributes to their overall health and well-being, growth and


Alternative options considered:

The other option is to leave schools and settings to make their own

individual arrangements rather than the council brokering the best value

service on their behalf. This could have the effect of higher prices for

parents if the service is not subsidised due to schools’ lack of time or

inclination to claim for the EU subsidies.


There could also be a reduction in the volume of milk consumed by the

youngest and most vulnerable children if schools decide to not provide a

daily drinking milk service. To do this would prevent these children from

receiving a healthy, nutritious drink during the day to supplement their


Publication date: 13/01/2021

Date of decision: 13/01/2021

Effective from: 20/01/2021

Accompanying Documents: