How We Set The Standards
To ensure that they are the very best that they can be, our Food for Life Served Here standards are set by an independent Standards Committee, which is made up of industry experts from a wide range of sectors.
The Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee
We are proud of the way we set our standards. The process has high levels of governance involving independent experts who give us their knowledge and expertise in order to develop our standards, ensuring they reflect our principles but are also practical and achievable.
The Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee consists of members who cater in schools, hospitals, nurseries, care homes and restaurant dining. The independent Chair, Dr Abi Burns, is senior policy officer at the RSPB. Abi was involved in drafting the RSPCA Freedom Food standards and most recently chaired the group which produced the Square Meal report, so she brings some excellent skills and experience to the Committee. As on all our Soil Association standards committees, the Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee has lay representatives to bring the consumer/diner perspective to the discussions.
Recruitment to the Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee is done through an open process at the Chair’s discretion. The Chair is appointed by the Chair of the Soil Association Standards Board, who is appointed by our elected Council of Trustees. Vacancies for the Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee are always advertised on our website and in Food for Life Served Here e-news.
Changes to the standards
The process of developing Food for Life Served Here standards follows the same procedures and governance as those involved in setting Soil Association organic standards. Please see the links below for more detail.
Proposals to amend the standards are considered by the Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee. If they agree a proposal would enhance the relevance of the standards and is in line with the objectives of the Food for Life Served Here Award, they conduct a public consultation. Feedback is then considered and a final recommendation is made to our independent Standards Board, which acts on behalf of our elected Council of Trustees to approve changes to our standards.
There are three lay representatives on our Standards Board. This ensures that consumer expectations are taken into account throughout the development of our standards.
Whenever a Standards Committee is considering a standards change proposal, we conduct a public consultation, usually consisting of two rounds of consultation, first for 60 days and then 30 days. During each round, we directly contact stakeholders, including all Food for Life Served Here Award holders. We advertise the consultation in Food for Life Served Here e-news, on our website, through social media and in the trade press.
The Standards Committee takes all responses to consultations into account when considering proposed changes and indeed, it is an immensely valuable source of context setting. We publish summaries of consultation feedback on our website.
Below you can find links to more information about our standard-setting process. We are open and transparent and encourage everyone to play their part in this process, particularly through our public consultations on standards proposals.
- An illustration of the structure we have in place [pdf, 176 kb]
- The principles and process of setting our standards [pdf, 281 kb]
- Find out who is currently serving on our standards committees and Standards Board (link to standards/catering mark)
- Standards Board and standards committees terms of reference [pdf, 143 kb]