Requests for Re-rating
To ensure fairness to businesses, there is a procedure in place for undertaking re-inspections at the request of the business for re-assessing their star rating.
The re-inspection mechanism applies in cases where businesses with ratings of ‘1’ to ‘4’ have accepted their rating and have subsequently made the necessary improvements to address non-compliances identified during the local authority previous inspection.
Businesses should be aware that re-inspection for re-rating purposes could lead to a lower rating being awarded rather than an increase in rating.
Who pays for a re-inspection visit?
Re-inspection falls under full cost recovery, and so the business will be required to pay for the costs of the inspection.
When is the inspection carried out?
The re-inspection will be carried out within three months of receipt of the request. Where an inspection does not occur within the three months, the business can raise the issue with the Environmental Health Manager.
If the matter cannot be resolved, the business has recourse to the local authority complaints procedure.
How many re-inspections can a business request?
There is no limit to the number of re-inspection visits a business can request, however, there will be a fee for each visit charged a full recovery cost.
How should a business request a re-inspection?
The request must be made in writing (including by email) and should outline the case for a re-inspection, i.e., it must indicate the actions that have been taken by the business to improve the level of compliance or welfare since the inspection and, where appropriate, must include supporting evidence. The supporting case should refer to those actions that the local authority informed the business would need to be made in order to achieve a higher rating.
Written requests for re-inspections should be directed to email@example.com or posted to:
Dartford and Sevenoaks Environmental Health Partnership
Sevenoaks District Council
Kent TN13 1HG
Must the local authority accede to all requests for re-inspections?
No. If the case made by the business is not substantiated or insufficient evidence is provided, the local authority can refuse to undertake a re-inspection on that bases. In doing so, the local authority will explain why the request is being refused at this stage and should re-emphasise the priority actions that must be taken in order to improve the rating and indicate what evidence will be required for agreement to a re-inspection to be made on further request.
Where there is a supporting case, must a re-inspection be made or can a new rating be given on the basis of documentary evidence?
This will depend on the reason for the re-inspection. This can be by appointment, unless an unannounced visit is necessary to ensure that compliance is checked properly (e.g. if the non-compliance was related to cleanliness standards).
If standards have not improved or have deteriorated at the time of the re-inspection, should a lower rating be given?
At the time of the re-inspection, the local authority officer will not only check that the required improvements have been made, but will also assess the ongoing standards. This means that the rating could go up, down or remain the same, change in licence length should be handled using the variation process described in paragraphs 25-35 of the Procedural Guidance.
Will the ratings be published?
The star rating must be added to the licence and the licence must be displayed by the business. In addition, the Procedural Guidance encourages local authorities to maintain a list of licensed businesses and their associated ratings on their websites.