When schools around the world began shutting down in March of 2020 amid Covid restrictions, concern surged for the many children who relied on the meals served there. As summer ended, it became apparent that many school districts around the world would remain closed, or at most, be open on a part-time basis for hybrid instruction. So, the problem of continuing to feed vulnerable children remained.
Solutions took many forms, but at least one district turned to intelligent automation for help. Caerphilly, a county near Cardiff, Wales, implemented an automated solution to process online applications for school-provided meals and assess eligibility. The automation was backed by U.K.-based RPA technology provider Blue Prism and service provider Codebase8.
“Our ethos has been to implement intelligent automation to deliver impactful and meaningful social benefits for our residents. There can be no greater example than a child requiring a hot healthy meal, whilst also providing positive improvements in health, attainment, social cohesion and also helping families with the cost of living,” said Jason Miles, digital services programme lead for Caerphilly Council. “The free school meals process perfectly aligned with our intelligent automation strategy—it ticked all the boxes and removed a repetitive and mundane task from catering services, all without the need for human intervention.”