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.
As chair of PACE (Professional Association of Catering Education), Geoff Booth 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 was 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.
Children’s Food Trust chief executive, and now co-chair (with Jeanette Orrey) of the School Food Plan Alliance, Linda Cregan 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
Professor Dame Sally Davies is 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 £5.1 billion, though the wider economic cost is £27.0 billion.
Dr Simon Gabe
BAPEN President and consultant gastroenterologist at St Mark's Hospital in Harrow, Dr Simon Gabe co-chairs the Intestinal Failure service, 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.
Children’s food campaigner, conference speaker, researcher and lively tweeter, Lindsay Graham is chair of the Holiday Hunger task force that is part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food.
Dianne Jeffrey is chair of Age UK, head of the Malnutrition Task Force, chair of the Hospital Food Standards Panel and 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 is 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, he is regularly invited by radio and television to comment on public catering issues.
Chair of ASSIST (the Association of Service Solutions in Scotland) the Scottish school meals providers organisation Alistair McIntyre has just launched a redesigned consumer-facing Scottish school meals website, www.scottishschoolmeals.co.uk, and overseen the development of the association’s own, new provenance Scot’s Origin brand.
Neel Radia is 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.
Director of the Sugar Smart Campaign and UK Partnerships at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Jo Ralling 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.
Chair of LACA (Lead Association for CAtering in Education) Sally Shadrack 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 is 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.
Lieutenant colonel (retired) Nigel Shepherd
Nigel Shepherd is a key member of the team responsible for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) food supply contract worth £165 million, now outsourced to Team Leidos (formerly Defence Fuel and Food Services). Of that figure, £79 million 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 three million ration packs a year.
Owen Sidaway is head of catering services, offender employment skills and services with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), and 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.
Chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens is driving a five-year plan to improve the health of 1.3 million 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 Dr Alison Tedstone 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 UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.
Chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Matt White 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
Dr Lisa Wilson is a public health nutritionist working for the Health Policy Partnership who specialises in nutrition for 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 elearning module on hydration in care homes.
Dr Sarah Wollaston
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP is 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.