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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Government departments and health authorities: Contracted Out Services (COS) Headings: COS Heading 10 - Catering

This Heading covers either the use of a private sector operator to run a government department’s or health authority’s catering function, or the use of a catering contractor to run individual events.


  • Food prepared and facilities supplied by a contract catering service
  • Hire of agency staff relating to that catering service
  • Catering services for occasional functions
  • Services associated with catering for occasional functions which form part of the supply of catering e.g. staff to serve food and drink, serving alcoholic beverages, hire of additional equipment (mobile kitchens, etc) to supplement the on-site facilities
  • Vending machines when supplied as part of a catering contract
  • Catering services for official functions e.g. receptions, dinners and banquets
  • Supplies of catering for NHS patient care