Pub hygiene reviews for a fee

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food hygiene rating Audit

Hygiene rating: pay for a second assessment
Hygiene rating: pay for a second assessment
Pub operators in London's Westminster are being offered the chance to pay for extra checks to enhance their food hygiene rating. Licensees...

Pub operators in London's Westminster are being offered the chance to pay for extra checks to enhance their food hygiene rating.

Licensees disappointed by their hygiene rating can work on areas pointed out by food inspectors and pay for a review. Current reviews are conducted by local authorities around every 18 months, though inspectors will visit businesses they have concerns about more frequently. The review costs £240.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is an initiative that uses stickers, usually presented in a venue's windows, showing their hygiene score. The ratings range from zero to five — zero means urgent improvement is necessary and five means standards are very good.

Concern has been raised that the scores apply to the conditions found at the last inspection only and may not represent the current condition of the business.

Westminster Licensees Association secretary Kate Nicholls said: "It sounds like a good idea and it is a positive step to allow premises to get a reassessment. However, it is quite a lot of money for an average independent pub and could be a problem for small operators."

Carl Smith, licensee of Young's pub the Windmill in Mayfair, advised pubs to consider using independent auditors to monitor their health and safety regimes.

Smith said: "If I ran an independent pub I would compare the price of the Westminster audit with that of an external auditor.

"We use a company that comes in four times a year and is much more rigorous than the council inspectors. If Westminster auditors are going to be advisory and helpful then it could be good."

Westminster Council's cabinet member for business, enterprise and skills, councillor Brian Connell said: "In applying for a rating earlier than the normal time frame, businesses can heighten their attraction to visitors and in doing so boost their revenue and footfall from residents and tourists alike."

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