Oxfordshire County Council acts swiftly after Carillion goes into liquidation

  • County council takes over to ensure school services continue

  • Carillion staff are asked to report to work as normal

  • The county council will ensure all staff are paid












Oxfordshire County Council has taken over services provided by Carillion including some school meals and cleaning, after the announcement that the service provider has gone into liquidation.

Affected staff are being asked to report for work as usual. The county council has been planning for the possibility of Carillion’s collapse for some time, and schools have been closely involved.

There are 90 schools supplied with school meals by Carillion to around 18,000 students.

No child should go hungry

Alexandra Bailey, the council’s Director for Property, Assets and Investment, said:

“We expect school staff will be in work as normal today but if this doesn’t happen we will provide school lunches to schools needing support, and the fire service are on standby to deliver them. We are confident no child will go hungry at school.

“We thank schools for their support and understanding as we deal with the situation. I’d also like to thank staff for continuing to do a great job during a period of uncertainty, and to reassure them that the county council will ensure staff are paid.”


Most of the county council’s contracts with Carillion are being transferred back to the county council, following an agreement made last July in response to the council’s changing property and estate needs. However, a few services were continuing until the end of March.

Among these that were continuing to the end of March was facilities management involving the delivery of school dinners and cleaning services.

These had been due to transfer to the county council on 31 March along with the employment of around 250 catering and cleaning staff currently employed by Carillion. 

Back up plan

But after today’s announcement that plan has been brought forward.

The council had a back-up plan if the company went into liquidation. This has included contacting head teachers at affected schools to ask them to reassure their catering and cleaning staff that their roles are secure, that the county council will ensure staff are paid.

The county council signed a 10-year contract with Carillion in 2012 to provide a range of services including key support services such as routine property management, facilities management, energy management and the design and build of capital work such as building new schools and new classrooms.

School meal facts

  • Carillion provides 101 schools with cleaning services or meals, or both. All schools apart from Chiltern Edge in Sonning Common are primaries.

  • 90 schools are supplied with school meals by Carillion to around 18,000 students

  • 56 maintained schools (ie council-run) have a contract with the county council to receive school meals, and the work was sub-contracted to Carillion. Those contracts will be brought in-house, including staff.

  • The other school meals contracts are directly with Carillion and cover both maintained schools and academies. Academies may decide to bring their staff in-house directly.

  • Meals are generally prepared in school kitchens

  • There are six main suppliers of school meal provisions for Oxfordshire, and all have agreed to continue supplying schools

  • Around half (53%) of school students have school dinners

  • 70% of students eligible for free school meals take up the offer