The national food hygiene rating scheme Opens in a new window aims to provide consumers with information on the hygiene standards found during routine food hygiene inspections. The scheme is designed to give consumers a choice about where they eat out or shop for food and at the same time encourage businesses to improve their food hygiene standards.

If you are a local business owner you can find more information on the scheme and number of frequently asked questions on the Food Standards Agency Opens in a new window website.

What if I don’t agree with my rating?

There are a number of safeguards built into the scheme to ensure that food businesses are not incorrectly scored:

  • Request a rescoring revisit providing you have done the works required.
  • You can appeal if you do not believe the score given reflects what was found.
  • You have a right of reply to highlight the actions you have since taken.

Requesting a re-scoring visit

A food business can request a re-scoring revisit once they have completed any legal requirements identified at the initial inspection. 

  • This must be formally requested on this re-scoring request form.
  • Only one request can be submitted between normal programmed inspections.
  • Without enough evidence the Council may refuse to undertake a re-visit.
  • The rescoring revisit will not take place until three months have lapsed since the initial visit unless the non-compliances identified only related to structural improvements or repairing equipment. Where issues around cleaning, training, supervision, management (SFBB) have arisen the premises can only be reassessed after 3 months and within a maximum 6 months, unless a separate appeal is made and upheld.
  • The original rating will be displayed on the website pending the re-visit; all visits will be unannounced and be comprehensive in order to re-evaluate the premises.

If a request is rejected a food business operator can raise the issue with the Lead Officer for Food and, if the matter still cannot be resolved, our complaints procedure can be used.

  Download a FHRS re-scoring request form

Appeals against a rating

The appeals procedure should only be used where the food business operator (you) believes that the rating given by the inspecting officer is unjust and does not reflect the hygiene standards and management controls at the time of the visit.

The process for appeal is as follows:

  1. The inspecting officer will always seek to discuss the rating with the business at the time of inspection. If you remain dissatisfied, we would encourage you to seek further clarification from the inspecting officer before resorting to the appeal procedure.
  2. If a dispute is not resolved informally, you can lodge an appeal in writing within 21 days of the notification of the score using the appeal form.
  3. All appeals will be examined by the Lead Officer for Food. We will tell you the final decision within 21 days from the date the appeal was lodged, after which time the rating will be published on the national website and amended window sticker issued, where necessary.
  4. If you still disagree with the outcome of the appeal, you can challenge the decision by means of judicial review.
  5. We operate a complaints procedure should you wish to complain about the service. This does not however form part of the appeal mechanism.

  Download a food hygiene rating appeal form

Right to reply

As the food business operator you have a right to reply in respect of the rating given following your inspection. This is to give you a chance to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection report, or to give reasons for the circumstances at the time of the inspection.

It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or inspecting officer. A right to reply must be formally submitted.

If you wish to use this right to reply, it will be displayed on the website with your rating. Your comments will be reviewed by the inspecting officer and may be edited before being published on the website in order to remove offensive or defamatory remarks.   

  Download a FHRS right to reply form

There is a checklist that can help you identify the areas you need to think about and get into place before your next inspection.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Checklist
Checklist to cover the main areas your business will be scored against.