The Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs has sent copies of the consultant's report to my Department and officials from both Departments have made preliminary contact on this matter. It is that Department's intention to initiate a formal programme evaluation of the school meals scheme, using the consultant's report as a basis for the examination. However that programme evaluation has not yet commenced largely because that Department has been concentrating on the evaluation of other programmes but also because it is awaiting the outcome of a pilot project in relation to school meals which it is supporting in conjunction with the PAUL partnership in Limerick city.
My officials have been informed by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs that it is expected that it will be in a position to initiate the formal programme evaluation of the school meals scheme in the near future. My officials will of course co-operate fully with that examination.