Scores on the Doors warning for pubs

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Henley-on-thames, Leasehold estate

A licensee who feels he was harshly treated by health inspectors is warning new tenants to let authorities know when they start, to avoid the same...

A licensee who feels he was harshly treated by health inspectors is warning new tenants to let authorities know when they start, to avoid the same fate.

Jo Miller took on a tenancy at Brakspear pub the Row Barge in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire in January.

A few months later an environmental health officer from Oxfordshire District Council visited the pub as part of the 'Scores on the Doors' health and safety assessment scheme.

But despite the pub performing well, it was only given a two star rating. Jo claims he was penalised because he had not let the authorities know he had taken the pub on within 28 days of starting.

He said: "The inspector came round and said everything was fine and that the pub was in the best state he had seen it.

"But he docked stars because I had not filled in a guidebook keeping tabs on what we do every week.

"We didn't have the book because we were not aware that we had to inform them we had taken the pub on and it was not given to us.

"It seems strange that when you start a new business you get lots of letters from people but nothing about this."

The Scores on the Doors scheme involves local authorities visiting premises that serve food and giving them a rating of up to five stars.

These are then published on councils' websites.

A spokeswoman for South Oxfordshire District Council confirmed the pub was given two stars but denied it was due to the pub failing to register.

She said: "It is correct that all new premises need to register as a food business with the council prior to opening, but if they didn't this would not affect their Scores on the Coors rating.

"We follow a nationally set list of criteria and code of practice (as set out on our website:www.southoxon.gov.uk/scoresonthedoors). From the file we can see that there were some issues with the pub's documentation of its systems and also some cleaning required - hence its two star rating."

At the moment, councils run schemes individually but the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is working on providing national guidelines.

An FSA spokeswoman said: "Different authorities have different systems and ways of running Scores on the Door in place so we are hoping that with a national scheme there will be more consistency around these issues."

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