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Bradford Council expands school uniform voucher scheme
School uniform vouchers now offer parents more value for money after the number of outlets accepting them rose from 13 to 73 following a Bradford Council intervention.
A report to the Council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee says the increase in outlets accepting the £26 vouchers follows a Council decision to try and improve value for money for parents and carers.
The decision was made during a meeting last October in which the Canterbury group of Save the Children’s Our Shout campaign gave a presentation on the positive changes it could make for children living in poverty in Bradford.
Committee chairman Councillor Malcolm Sykes said: “The benefit is cheaper uniforms.
“It is, as far as I’m concerned, encouraging that we as a scrutiny committee, together with Our Shout and the Council, have now managed to persuade the retailers out there to join in with this scheme and provide what is going to be more affordable garments for families at a time when things are difficult.”
The committee agreed to change its approach to increase the number of outlets accepting the voucher by making the process of signing up simpler.
The previous scheme recruited suppliers through a competitive tender which included a consideration of any discount offered to the Council.
Suppliers under the old scheme offered a discount to the Council of between five per cent and 12.5 per cent.
But few small or occasional suppliers were willing to go through the time- consuming tender process.
The report says: “The improved approach that was adopted was to enable all suppliers who met certain conditions to sign up to accept the vouchers.
“There was no longer a requirement for suppliers to offer a discount to the Council because it was felt that this would have deterred some of the more competitive suppliers.”
The move means 73 outlets now accept the voucher, including 19 retailers with 43 outlets or branches and 30 schools.