Highland Council Ensures No Child Goes Hungry at School
A report considered at the Highland Council, Audit & Scrutiny Committee today on school meals income reported that there was significant level of historic debt regarding payment for school meals and that given the age of the debt further management action is required in order to reduce or write off the outstanding amounts due.
However, the amounts due are also reflective of the Council’s proactive approach in ensuring that no child goes hungry at school. The Council’s policy is that no primary school pupil should be refused a meal due to insufficient funds being available or no other arrangement being in place for a lunchtime meal.
The Council understands that there will be occasions where payment is not made in advance and a process exists to support pupils and subsequently collect monies due.
Highland Council currently provides approximately 18,000 lunches per day at 173 primary schools and 29 secondary schools.
Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee said: “While further work is need to reduce still high level of debt owed for unpaid school meals the Council’s policy to ensure that no child goes hungry is an essential component of the Council’s social role.
“Our Welfare Support Team play a pivotal role in ensuring all entitlement including free school meals are promoted and claimed. As part of the debt recovery process they are reviewing entitlement to free school meals to provide support and maximise family incomes.”