||<p>The <em>Plan for Public Procurement: Food and Catering Services</em> which was
published in 2014 already provides UK food businesses with greater access to central
government and wider public sector contracts.</p><p>The Plan aims to simplify the
public procurement process and open up the market to more SMEs and local producers.
It provides a level playing field on which UK producers can compete for the opportunity
to supply more of the produce currently supplied from other countries. It includes
tools such as the balanced scorecard, to help contracting parties to balance a range
of criteria beneficial to the consumer, the environment, and to producers. These criteria
include embedding UK production standards, encouraging seasonality of fresh produce
and calling for menus which celebrate the provenance of the food. This approach is
a UK-led initiative which is not affected by leaving the EU.</p><p>The balanced scorecard
approach is mandated for central government departments as existing contracts come
up for renewal and it is also strongly encouraged for other public sector bodies.
Defra is working closely with buyers and with the industry to ensure they are well
prepared to maximise the opportunities.</p><p>The UK’s departure from the EU allows
us to re-examine procurement rules to ensure they work in the best interests of UK