Public sector catering's most influential Top 20 revealed

08/12/2016 - 09:23
The decision of a panel of independent judges is in and we can reveal public sector catering’s Top 20 ‘most influential’ people in 2016.

The eighth annual listing of Cost Sector Catering’s Top 20 continues to reflect the major concerns felt across the industry.

With the much-delayed launch of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan the focus of much comment and criticism, it is no surprise that this year’s list features several names closely linked with this initiative.

So, step forward Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Commons Health Select Committee and Dr Alison Tedstone, the director of diet and obesity at Public Health England.

Other new names include Rosie Boycott of the London Food Board and Jo Ralling of Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, both also closely involved in improving the diet of children and young people.

Here is the PSMI (Public Sector Most Influential) in Catering for 2016:

Geoff Booth - chair of PACE (Professional Association of Catering Education), has over 30 years management experience in hospitality, business and tourism sectors, and is an active and respected figure within the wider hospitality industry helping catering colleges nurture the workers of tomorrow.

Rosie Boycott - appointed chair of London Food Board in 2008, a body set up to advise the London Mayor on food matters. She has campaigned to make the capital a Sustainable Fish City, and promoted Capital Growth to get people growing fruit and vegetables. There are now 2,500 such growing spaces on 160 previously derelict acres and involving 180,000 people, including half of all London schools.

Linda Cregan - Children’s Food Trust chief executive, and now co-chair (with Jeanette Orrey) of the School Food Plan Alliance, Linda champions the CFT’s work to help nurseries, children’s centres, childminders, schools, caterers, local authorities and others deliver better food for children. She’s also an ambassador for the Trust’s award-winning Let’s Get Cooking programme.

Professor Dame Sally Davies – the Chief Medical Officer, and therefore the senior doctor within Government, she advises the prime minister and the secretary of state for health. She has spoken out about the need to urgently tackle rising rates of obesity, starting with children. She says dealing with the effects cost the NHS £5.1bn, though the wider economic cost is £27bn.

Dr Simon Gabe - BAPEN President and consultant gastroenterologist at St Mark's Hospital in Harrow. He co-chairs the Intestinal Failure service at St Mark’s, one of only two centres in the UK funded to provide this service. BAPEN seeks to raise awareness of malnutrition and help patients and those in the wider community at risk of malnutrition.

Lindsay Graham - children’s food campaigner, conference speaker, researcher and lively tweeter. She is chair of the Holiday Hunger task force that is part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food.

Dianne Jeffrey - chair of Age UK, head of the Malnutrition Task Force, chair of the Hospital Food Standards Panel and she also led the Dignity Commission. She regularly speaks on issues such as food and nutrition in hospitals, care homes, in people’s own homes and the meals on wheels service.

Andy Jones – chair of the PS100 organisation and one of the ‘Big Three’ (with Derek Johnson and Carline Lecko) that jointly runs the huge annual international event each year that is Nutrition & Hydration Week. A former chair of the Hospital Caterers Association, Andy is regularly invited by radio and TV to comment of public catering issues.

Alistair McIntyre - Chair of ASSIST (the Association of Service Solutions in Scotland) the Scottish school meals providers organisation. He has just launched a redesigned consumer-facing Scottish school meals website: and overseen the development of the association’s own, new provenance Scot’s Origin brand.

Neel Radia - chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the lead organisation for care home caterers and community meal providers. His message to Government and local authorities is that cuts to community meals risk removing a vital lifeline for the elderly and those at risk. He helped organise a pop-up luncheon club at the House of Commons to draw attention to the issue.

Jo Ralling – director of the Sugar Smart Campaign and UK Partnerships at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. She has played a role in delivering the UK and global advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of sugar to long term public health and lobbied the Government to introduce its Childhood Obesity Plan and Soft Drinks Levy.

Sally Shadrack - chair of LACA (Lead Association for CAtering in Education), recently succeeded Peter McGrath after two years as deputy chair. She is working through LACA to gather robust data to provide evidence that Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) has made a difference and should be continued beyond 2020.

Phil Shelley – in his second year as chair of the Hospital Caterers’ Association (HCA) and continues the day job as facilities manager at Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. He champions the ‘last nine yards’ approach to getting meal delivery right for patients and recently signed a memo with the British Dietetic Association on improving standards across hospital catering.

Lt Col (retd) Nigel Shepherd - Team Leidos (formerly Defence Fuel and Food Services), a key member of the team responsible for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) food supply contract worth £165m, now outsourced to Team Leidos. Of that figure, £79m is spent directly on operational feeding of UK armed forces personnel on active duty or training throughout the world, either directly by military caterers or through 3m ration packs a year.

Owen Sidaway - head of Catering Services, Offender Employment Skills & Services, National Offender Management Service (NOMS); is head of catering services, offender employment skills and services with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), in charge of making sure the 86,900 prisoners in England and Wales get three nutritious meals a day plus snacks on a budget of £1.87 per person.

Simon Stevens - chief executive of NHS England, who is driving a five-year plan to improve the health of 1.3m healthcare staff by ensuring they are offered healthy food and drink choices, plus a commitment to improving the quality of patient meals. He has proposed a 20% sugar tax on high-sugar drinks and snacks in hospitals to encourage the take-up of healthier choices.

Dr Alison Tedstone - director of diet and obesity with Public Health England, is responsible for diet, nutrition and obesity advice and policy. Her work includes nutrition surveys, scientific advice and messaging on nutrition and obesity, and supporting local weight management services. She was heavily involved in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.

Matt White - chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), recently took over from Julie Barker following a spell of more than three years as director of TUCO. He doubles up as Director of Catering, Hotel and Conference Services at The University of Reading and believes the university sector has a huge role to play in educating people about eating more healthily.

Dr Lisa Wilson - public health nutritionist working for the Health Policy Partnership who specialises in nutrition and older people. A consultant for organisations in the UK and Europe including the European Hydration Institute, the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA), International Longevity Centre UK and AGE UK, her recent work includes writing and developing an e-learning module on Hydration in Care Homes.

Dr Sarah Wollaston  - MP and chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, which examines government health policy and proposed legislation and published the influential Childhood Obesity – Brave and Bold Action report. This led to the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan in August.

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