Appeals Process following an inspection
To ensure fairness to businesses, local authorities must have an appeal procedure in place for businesses to dispute the star rating given in respect of their business. The appeal procedure is relevant where the business wishes to dispute the star rating given as not reflecting the animal welfare standards and risk level of their business at the time of the inspection. This will not be used if the business has made improvements to their business and wishes to be reassessed – in this case they should apply for a re-inspection.
How can a business appeal their star rating?
If a business wishes to appear the star rating given by the ‘inspecting officer’ (ie: the officer undertaking the inspection) on behalf of the local authority, the appeal must be made in writing (including by email) to the local authority.
Appeals can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to:
Dartford Borough Council
A business disputing a rating is encouraged to discuss this informally first with the ‘inspecting officer’ so that there is an opportunity to help explain to the business how the rating was worked out, as this may help resolve the issue without the business having to lodge an appeal.
Any such discussions do not form part of the formal appeal process and do not change the deadline within which the appeal must be lodged.
Businesses have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) following the issue of their licence in which to appeal the star rating.
How will the local authority determine the outcome of the appeal?
The appeal will be determined by the Environmental Health Manager, or a nominated deputy. No officer involved in the production of the rating, or in the inspection on which the rating is based will consider the appeal.
The local authority has 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date they receive the appeal to consider the appeal, within which time they must issue a decision to the business.
The local authority will determine the outcome of an appeal by considering the paperwork associated with the inspection and past record of the business. In some circumstances, a further visit to the establishment may be required. The appeal process will be transparent. The costs of any additional inspections related to the appear will be borne by the applicant unless it results in a higher rating being awarded. This will depend on the nature of the dispute and whether a decision can or cannot be made on the bases of the paperwork.
What if the business disagrees with the outcome of the appeal?
If the business disagrees with outcome of the appeal, they can challenge the local authority’s decision by means of judicial review. The business has also recourse to the local authority’s complaint procedure (including taking the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman where appropriate) if they consider that a council service has not been properly delivered.