Information and Coordination Problems

The reliance upon private philanthropy encouraged by current government responses does not sufficiently address the problem of child hunger during the school day.  The background section of this report provided evidence as to why this is the case by identifying five key limitations of existing decentralised responses:

(i)                  excess demand

(ii)                episodic provision

(iii)               unreliability of funding or sponsorship

(iv)              poor volunteer retention

(v)                arbitrary methods of distribution

A sixth information and coordination problem arises from the lack of public accountability of privately organised food provision programmes, despite the fact that donations made to registered charities are subsidised by the government.  In the absence of centralised standards or guidelines, many charitable programmes or school procedures for addressing students without lunch may not be evaluated.  Instances of poor practice are thus likely to be maintained.