Sodexo, a catering business that trades on its ethical credentials, is at the centre of a scandal brewing around operational costs at Covid testing centres being run for government.
inews is reporting on a whistleblower’s claims that unnecessary operational costs are being added at a cost to tax payers. The whistleblower also asserts, that ‘on the job benefits’ provided to Sodexo workers are excessive when compared to front line NHS workers.
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Sodexo operate 150 Covid testing sites in the UK for the Department of Health and Social Care, employing a workforce of 9,000 people. The catering being provided, alongside clothing, signage and other costs are what inews is now seeking clarity on from government and Sodexo.
The whistleblower claims that at a site in Brighton employing 30 people extensive catering was lavished upon them, including handcrafted artisan sandwiches and an incredible array of snacks. While by comparison most NHS staff do not receive anything comparable, at a time when nurses and other frontline staff face a pay squeeze.
Questions were also raised around sustainability and waste by the whistleblower who said: “There was always far more than the staff could actually eat or drink, and much of it went in the bin at the end of the week.”
A Sodexo spokesperson said: “It is a source of great pride for Sodexo that we have been able to support the Government on test centres. Our people working on the frontline have gone above and beyond over the course of the last year. The nature of the test centre environment means that onsite catering must be provided for them – this is done so at a capped budget per head. Additionally, as staff are required to be outdoors it is absolutely essential that they are provided with the appropriate uniform for the climate – we are delighted to say that this was delivered significantly under budget.
“Due to the commercial sensitivity of our contract we are unable to provide specific financial details, all operational costs are accounted for within the contract.”
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Hospitality & Catering News: Whistleblower calls operational costs at Sodexo government Covid test centres into question. – 22 March 2021 – Whistleblower calls operational costs at Sodexo government Covid test centres into question.