CHANGES to meals-on-wheels and how care for people is provided can help a council meet its climate change targets, a meeting has been told. 

Monmouthshire council has agreed to sign up for a socially responsible procurement strategy, which means it will buy and commission services in a way that is intended to support its ambitions, from better working conditions and pay, to its aim to be a net zero council by 2030. 

That could also mean the council supporting local food producers and providing locally grown or raised food to those suppported by meals-on-wheels. 

The procurement strategy is led by Cardiff council, and Torfaen has already signed up for it, with Monmouthshire’s Labour cabinet having agreed to do so at its June meeting with the Vale of Glamorgan also set to join the partnership. 

Drybridge councillor Catrin Maby, who is the cabinet member responsible for climate change, said more than 60 per cent of the council’s carbon emissions come through procurement and Green Party cabinet member Ian Chandler, who is responsible for social care, asked how the department could help in the reduction effort. 

Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby said the council’s efforts to recruit “micro-carers” who operate in their own neighbourhoods meant they could do so without using a car. 

She said the procurement strategy could see the council make more use of such carers and move away from private firms to cooperatives and social enterprises. 

But she said making better use of the council’s own meals-on-wheels service could also help boost care, tackle loneliness and contribute to reducing the environmental impact. 

She said: “We are one of the few councils left that does what used to be called meals-on-wheels and we could procure an electric fleet and start to use local produce.” 

She also drivers could also be part of providing care for people through being flexible from either staying with people while they eat their meal to provide them with some company or if there are clients living close together bringing them together to eat with each other. 

Cllr Chandler, who represents Llantilio Crossenny, said from his own experience he thought those were good ideas. 

He said: “When I was a student in London I used to deliver meals-on-wheels and far too often I would be the only person someone would see.” 

On the procurement plan Cllr Brocklesby said the council spends more than £98 million a year on goods, services and works such as construction. 

She said: “That’s on a diverse range from our Fair Trade coffee to large housing developments and with over 2,800 providers.” 

Abergavenny Cantref councillor, Sara Burch the member for communities, said the strategy will also support firms already working with the council. 

She said: “There is nothing for our existing suppliers to fear in this. It is an opportunity for them to come on that decarbonisation journey with us.”