Could displaying your score on the door become compulsory?
Last month saw the second reading of the London Local Authorities Act recommending compulsory display of scores on the doors at entrances to London businesses.The majority of MPs voted for this but due to petitions from pressure groups, such as the British Hospitality Association, it will now go before a Commons Committee before the final decision is made. Last month also saw the publication of a report by the Government Advisor Lord Young looking at health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture. Given that remit, it seemed strange that he should comment on food safety. Or perhaps it’s an indication of the Government’s commitment to widening the coverage of the scores on the doors schemes.
Lord Young recommended that the Food Standards Agency Food Hygiene Rating Scheme should become mandatory throughout the country and that compulsory display of certificates should be considered after a year.
Many local authorities are concerned due to the resource implications of visits to re-score premises after improvements have been made. This is something the national food hygiene rating scheme allows but many existing schemes do not. Often a business has to wait until its next routine inspection – which might be 18 months away.
Local authorities are more likely to implement the national scheme if they are able to charge for re-scoring visits. This is something that the Food Standards Agency’s lawyers are currently considering.
For more information, read the transcript of the Commons debate on the London Local Authorities Act and Lord Young’s health and safety review.