Please find below an update from the HCL Senior Management Team regarding the COVID-19 outbreak
What is HCL doing in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak?
- HCL is actively following government guidance as it is updated, and working closely with its staff, customers, suppliers, and partners - including Hertfordshire County Council (and its Public Health Directorate) - to respond to the situation.
- HCL is supporting the UK’s key workers by continuing to provide catering services in schools for the children of these workers, and other specified groups.
- HCL is also working with partners on plans to support local communities with access to food supplies either given changing guidance on ‘at risk’ individuals being required to isolate at home, or difficulties for charities and care homes to purchase regular food supplies at supermarkets given current demand issues.
HCL Meal Provision
- The majority of schools are operating a vastly reduced provision, as a minimum, only allowing the children of key workers, or particularly vulnerable children to attend. HCL will continue to provide catering services into these schools, and is also working with a number of schools who have requested support with provision for those in receipt of benefit related Free School Meals (FSM).
- The school closure situation is new, and still developing. It is possible that some further schools will close and others will become ‘hub’ schools. HCL will continue to provide meals in hub schools as required.
How is HCL managing its staff during this time?
- HCL staff in schools are designated as ‘key workers’ involved with the provision of food to those requiring it.
- HCL staff are following guidance about self-isolation for those either with symptoms, or who have been in contact with those showing symptoms, as well as those who are required to self-isolate for their own protection.
- Given the reduction in meals required on a school by school basis HCL is currently able to manage this situation with the reduced staffing that is inevitable during this period.
- Head Office Staff have the capacity to work remotely and support frontline operations by working from home, or alternate sites.
- All recruitment activity has been put on hold.
- HCL’s suppliers currently have no concerns around food supply. It is possible, due to the reduced number of pupils on site, that existing food supplies ordered in may mean elements of the menu are varied or repeated in order to use up food, and prevent wastage. It is also possible that, given numbers on site, kitchens may be required to practically reduce the number of options available each day from the standard menu, although we will continue to provide for special diets and allergies etc. Further menu variations or reduced choices may be required down the line as suppliers do anticipate some level of disruption in their supply chain – although this is not currently the case.
- HCL will seek to keep its customers regularly updated on our response to the current situation, both via email, as well as updating notices published on our website.
HCL will continue to monitor the situation daily and work in collaboration with our customers and suppliers to minimise disruption as much as possible to all stakeholders.