Following a recent investigation at an NHS client, it became evident that some suppliers, specifically catering suppliers operate loyalty schemes whereby the amount of spend by the customer with the supplier is directly rewarded through a loyalty scheme.

  • The schemes operate by rewarding spend with points, these points can then be exchanged for a wide variety of gifts, including high street vouchers, direct purchases from retailers including Currys PC World and where catering contracts are concerned, industrial cookware.
  • The investigation revealed that the NHS Trust in question were not aware of the scheme as the incumbent catering manager had registered themselves personally as the beneficiary of the scheme, this resulted in the Trust missing out on points earned as a result of their £300k pa spend with the company and therefore missing out on the rewards available.
  • It is believed that catering contracts are the most common source of these schemes, however it should be the Trust that receive any rewards and not an individual within the department.
  • The company referred to in this investigation are ‘Bidfoods’ who operate a scheme called ‘Safari Rewards’ though it is likely that other suppliers provide similar schemes.
Our Advice
  • It is recommended that enquiries are undertaken with Procurement departments to confirm the details of catering suppliers for the organisation.
  • These should then be contacted to confirm whether they operate a rewards scheme. Where it is confirmed they do operate a rewards scheme, enquiries should be undertaken to confirm who the current (and any previous) recipients are.
  • As pointed out above, Bidfoods do operate a rewards scheme and are one of the biggest NHS catering suppliers, therefore this company should appear repeatedly.

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