Salford City Council’s Environmental Health service has become the first UK local authority body to publish fully accessible details of all its food hygiene site inspections, using the new Authority Public Protection web toolkit from Civica plc, one of the UK’s most experienced providers of consulting, software and services for the public sector.
Salford’s environmental health department, which inspects approximately 1,900 food premises in the city, is publishing key findings on a daily basis on their website under the “Scores on the Doors” food safety initiative. Salford’s campaign is one of a series of first stage information programmes being run by local authorities under the “Scores on the Doors” banner, ahead of a potential national education programme likely to be overseen by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The new Authority Public Protection web toolkit from Civica Public Protection takes hygiene inspection data from Salford’s existing Authority database, enabling it to be published on the council’s web site. Civica Public Protection’s ICT experts, working in conjunction with Salford City Council’s web team, were able to install the web toolkit over a couple of days in mid-September to start the project.
With 1.3 million cases of food-related illness recorded in the UK every year¹, and greater public awareness of food safety issues, standards in the food production industry as well as the leisure and catering sectors are coming under ever greater scrutiny. The whole “Scores on the Doors” philosophy supports environmental health departments’ existing enforcement powers and also aims to generate greater public understanding of food safety matters.
The new site details each inspected establishment’s food hygiene standards, structural condition and general attitude to food safety legislation.
Councillor Maureen Lea, Lead Member, Environmental Services, at Salford City Council said: “People want to know that they are eating or buying items from the best possible food and catering establishments in the city. Our “Scores on the Doors” website is the first local authority-hosted site which gives residents detailed information as user-friendly, click through pages and meets all disability legislation requirements.”
Duncan Forrester, Customer Services Director at Civica Public Protection, said: “Salford City Council has quickly seen the need for transparent information about local food premises, whether for people who are eating out or those who wish to understand more about food manufacture in general. The UK, along with the USA and Denmark, is leading the field in directly publishing local information of this type.
“By drawing on our long standing expertise in recording inspection data in the Authority database product, our web toolkit also relieves the council’s environmental health team of the growing administrative burden, not only of maintaining inspection records but also fulfilling requests under the Freedom of Information Act.”
About Civica plc
Civica plc (civica.co.uk), which includes Comino, is a market leader in consulting, software and managed services for the public sector. The group, which employs approximately 1000 people, has a 20-year history of supplying local government, police, criminal justice, education and healthcare organisations in the UK, Australia and the USA. Customers supplied include approximately 89 per cent of the UK’s local authorities together with more than 200 councils in Australia. The group also counts approximately 85 per cent of UK police forces, 250 NHS Trusts and over 30 Local Education Authorities amongst its customers.
1 Publication of Hygiene Inspection Information, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, March 2004.