Annual Report and Accounts 2000-01


OFFICE REPORTS

Refreshment Department
(Superintendent: Alfio Bibbiani)

1  Purpose

The Department has responsibility for the provision of catering facilities to Members, Officers and their guests, staff and Counsel. It also provides a private function service to Members and Officers of the House, and retails House of Lords' gifts and souvenirs.

2  Organisation

The Department employs 92 staff, of whom 14 are in managerial positions and 4 are in a clerical capacity. Five additional full-time members of staff are expected to be recruited for the new satellite unit in Millbank House, which will open in October 2001.

The Department makes use of casual labour to mitigate the effects of unfilled vacancies, variations in demand, staff sickness and absence.

3  Activities and Financial Performance

The Department provided catering services through 8 trading outlets, a private function service and a gift shop. The trial visitors' tour (Line of Route) in the summer recess 2000, which involved a major merchandising outlet in Westminster Hall, made significant demands on the Department; there will be more time to devote to the planning and organisation of the operation in 2001.

Turnover for the year was £2.83m, representing a 0.6% increase over the 1999-2000 results. Gross profit on turnover was £1.44m (£1.44m in 1999-2000). These figures suggest that the Department has exploited its full potential within the constraints of its current accommodation.

The performance of each outlet continued to be monitored with reference to specified percentage profit targets, set and reviewed annually by the Refreshment Sub-Committee. All internal and external performance targets were met, with the exception of the Peers' Dining Room, which was 2.3% under the gross profit margin target.

A major IT upgrade and development programme, comprising the installation of an EPOS system, Stock Management system, a Banqueting Diary and a new Accounting software package began in September 2000. Whilst the Accounting package and Banqueting Diary projects came to successful conclusions, there were some initial difficulties and delays in the EPOS project.

The Department has continued its policy of bearing certain costs on the Trading Account, which, in the past, were borne on the House of Lords Votes.

During 2000-01, the sum of £650,000 of realised trading profits was paid to the House of Lords' Vote (£580,000 in 1999-2000).

Refreshment Department expenditure falling on the House of Lords' Administration Vote (chiefly wage costs of staff other than functions and retail) amounted to £921,311 net (£792,809 in 1999-2000).

4  Future Activities

  • The new catering outlet at Millbank will open in October 2001. It will provide a breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea service to Members and staff, and the outlet will be open during recesses from Summer 2002.

  • A feasibility study will be undertaken in Summer 2001 on the viability of improving existing facilities within the kitchens, staff changing and rest rooms, and the provision of an informal eating area for Members and staff.

  • Full development and implementation of the IT programme mentioned above.



 
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