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2023 cohort of ‘Most Influential’ in public sector catering released

4th Dec 2023 - 08:00
2023 cohort of ‘Most Influential’ in public sector catering released
Public Sector Catering once again convened a panel of expert judges to draw up the Top 20 ‘Most Influential’ people in public sector catering. The 2023 list features 50% of new names compared to the 2022 cohort to reflect wider industry changes.

The ‘Most Influential’ list of people involved in public sector catering during 2023 has been released, to coincide with the online publication of Public Sector Catering magazine’s December issue.

The list comprises of people who are the industry’s leading lights based on their ability to represent the concerns of people working in the sector, as well as their capacity to drive change. They cover schools, universities, hospitals, the care sector, prisons and catering colleges.

The ‘Most Influential’ people in foodservice will get the chance to air their views on key industry issues when they convene for a round table discussion in Westminster on December 14th. Out of it will come the key action points for the Public Sector Catering Alliance, chaired by Matthew White, to work on in 2024.

With staff shortages a continuing problem in the industry, the discussion this year will undoubtedly follow up on this work. Other topics likely to get an airing include price pressures and funding, particularly in schools where the unfairness of the current state funding for meals sees children in England disadvantaged compared to Scottish pupils.

The class of 2023 include:  

Anita Brown, chair of LACA: In her day job Anita is service manager at Stockton on Tees Borough Council. She started as a school cook in what she calls ‘the days of endless budgets and no standards’.

Brian Robb, chair of the HCA: Since becoming chair of the Hospital Caterers Association in April 2021, Brian has worked to put in place a reforming and modernising strategy to make the organisation ‘fit for the future’.

Phil Rees-Jones, chair of TUCO: As chair of The University Caterers Organisation, Phil leads the leading professional membership body for in-house caterers in higher education with more than 300 members.

Neel Radia, chair of the NACC: Until his latest appointment, he was the lead for the NACC’s Meals on Wheels campaign, championing nutritional support for older and vulnerable people within the community.

Christopher Ross, chair of ASSIST FM: Chris is now in the second year of his term as chair of ASSIST FM, the organisation that represents public sector FM services providers in Scotland.

Molly Shaher, chair of PACE: Molly sees her role as encouraging catering educating institutions to work together to manage the challenges of continuing change.

Matthew White, chair of PSC Alliance: The Public Sector Catering Alliance offers a collaborative forum and lobbying voice on issues of common interest across education, health and social care, prisons and the military.

Julian Edwards, chair of FCSI UK & I: An independent food service consultant for 27 years, Julian Edwards heads FCSI UK&I, the professional association for independent foodservice consultants.

Sue Cawthray, PSC Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Sue has just completed her second spell as chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the organisation for care home caterers and community meal providers.

Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food: The group she started organises British Food Fortnight, the most established promotion of British food in the public sector.

David Oliver, head of HMPS Catering (England & Wales): David is responsible for feeding more than 80,000 prisoners a day on an average budget of £2.15 for three meals a day.

Phil Shelley, senior operational & policy manager – soft FM, NHS England: Phil chaired the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food in 2020 that laid out eight National Standards of Hospital Food for patients, staff and visitors that all NHS organisations are legally required to meet.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union: Campaigning on behalf of NFU members about the importance of British food and farming has been a key driver of her time at the NFU.

Robin Mills, managing director of Compass UK & Ireland: Under him Compass has played a key role in the national effort to tackle Covid, including a redeployment of staff from sports and business sectors to hospitals and defence sites.

Sean Haley, chief executive of Sodexo UK & Ireland: Sean is Sodexo chief executive of service operations worldwide, a member of the group’s executive committee and, since 2016, has been region chair for UK & Ireland, which employs 34,000 people.

Jill Whittaker, executive chair at HIT Training Ltd: Jill co-founded of HIT Training Ltd in 2006 and says her passion is using apprenticeships to develop individuals and provide businesses with the skills they need.

Mo Baines, chief executive of the Association of Public Service Excellence: Mo holds an MPA with distinction from the University of Liverpool and is author of ‘Rebuilding Capacity: the case for insourcing public contracts’ as well as a regular columnist for The MJ.

Nadim & Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, founders of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation: They campaign tirelessly within the public sector, personally speaking at many industry events, to keep allergy awareness and training uppermost in the minds of caterers.

Tim Smith, chair of the Food & Drink Sector Council: The council is the formal industry partnership with the Government, addressing challenges faced by the sector and building a more productive and sustainable food and drink system.

Cathy Amos, head of customer marketing at Brakes: Cathy has spent working life in the food and hospitality industry and her current role sees her closely involved in contract catering, healthcare, and education.

For more information on each of the ‘most Influential’ list, read the Coverstory in Public Sector Catering’s December issue (pages 26-30). 

Previous Public Sector Catering Most Influential lists:

PSCMI 2022
PSCMI 2021
PSCMI 2020
PSCMI 2019
PSCMI 2018

Written by
Edward Waddell