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Investigation into the free school meals voucher scheme

On 31 March 2020, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department for Education launched a voucher scheme to help give the 1.4 million children in England eligible for free school meals continued access to meals while they were not attending school. Schools joining the scheme can order shopping vouchers worth £15 per week for each eligible pupil. Parents may spend the vouchers at one of eight (initially six) supermarket chains.

This investigation will set out the facts about the free school meals voucher scheme. We expect to cover the Department’s objectives and choice of contractor to run the scheme; the scheme’s performance; and the scheme’s forecast and actual costs.

If you would like to provide evidence for our investigation, please email the investigation team at enquiries@nao.org.uk putting the investigation title (‘Free school meals voucher scheme’) in the subject line. The team will consider the evidence you provide; however, please note that due to the volume of information we receive we may not respond to you directly.

If you would like to contact us about anything else, please use our contact form.

More information about our work to report on government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found here