Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) had been in place in Brentwood Borough Council since February 2011. All food hygiene visits made to premises were conducted at no cost to the business, which included requested second visits to the business for the sole purpose of increasing their FHRS “star” rating, which is to their business benefit.
There was an opportunity to introduce a charging regime using powers available in the Localism Act for one part of FHRS: requests for a FHRS re-rating inspection. Charging was previously specifically excluded by the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) contract with local authorities to deliver FHRS, but they have reconsidered this position and now advise that it is possible to charge for this service under the powers granted to local authorities by that Act.
Cllr Poppy MOVED the motion and Cllr Mrs Tierney SECONDED the recommendation in the report.
A vote was taken by a show of hands and it was RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY to:
1. Note this report and basis for the proposed changes to the operation of FHRS in Brentwood Borough Council; and
2. Approve the introduction of a charge of £180 for re-rating inspections based upon full cost recovery with effect from 1 April 2020, reviewed in line with the fees and charges policy annually thereafter.
Reasons for Recommendation
This service was delivered free of charge. Brentwood currently received between 8 and 10 requests for reinspection per year. The income for the current year to date, where the council to charge, would have been £1,440 based on a fee of £180.
The number of requests received annually was however likely to increase with the recent introduction of online food delivery platforms. Agreed changes to the operation of two major online delivery platforms, driven by the FSA, means that those platforms do not permit membership below a rating of 3 FHRS. It is anticipated that businesses will want to request more re-rating inspections in order continue trading on such platforms, together with showing the best ratings which places increased pressure on resources unless we are able to recover the charges.
Report author: Max Gibson
Publication date: 15/01/2020
Date of decision: 06/01/2020
Decided at meeting: 06/01/2020 - Community & Health Committee