Last updated on 11 February 2009
FSA/LACORS principles for independent 'scores on the doors' schemes
The FSA/LACORS 'principles' have been revised following the FSA Board meeting in December 2008, when decisions were made regarding the national schemes. The agreed principles are still relevant to independently operated schemes.
From 2004, various local authorities began developing 'scores on the doors' schemes, and the introduction of a large number of different schemes then followed. The Food Standards Agency also sponsored a number of local authorities to participate in a range of pilot schemes which began operating in 2006 and 2007.
To get a broad consistency between local schemes, the 'principles' set out below were jointly adopted by the Agency and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS). The aim was to provide a framework for the development of new 'scores on the doors' schemes and the operation of existing schemes in advance of a national scheme being recommended.
At its meeting in December 2008 (and following a public consultation), the Agency's Board decided that a six-tier national scheme should be developed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and that a two-tier scheme should continue in Scotland.
The Agency and LACORS would encourage those local authorities wishing to operate a scheme for the first time to adopt the appropriate national schemes and those with existing schemes to consider migrating to these in due course. In the meantime, the agreed principles are still relevant to independently operated schemes.
The Board also made a number of decisions regarding the framework underpinning the schemes and local authorities may wish to have regard to those decisions in respect of any independent schemes that continue to operate or are set up. You can read about the Board decision at the link below.
Principles for independent schemes
- businesses and consumers should be consulted on the details of the scheme before it is launched
- local authorities should bear in mind that multi-tiered schemes are generally based on food hygiene and safety procedures, structure and confidence in management elements of the Code of Practice
- scoring systems should be open, transparent and simple to understand, and accurately reflect the standards of compliance within the business
- clear explanation of scoring schemes and associated bandings should be provided to members of the public
- every effort should be made to ensure scoring within a particular scheme is as consistent as possible
- a mechanism should be put in place to inform businesses about the relevant complaints procedures
- local authorities should actively seek to obtain business co-operation in displaying score certificates on the premises
- there should be an ongoing commitment to keep the public informed about the general outcomes of the scheme
- discussions with software providers should include the need for flexibility, and the extent to which any scheme proposed or operated now could be amended to fit in with a national scheme at a later date
The Agency has also now published its views on the legal issues that are relevant to the operation of a UK-wide scores on the doors scheme. You can read this legal opinion at the link below. Local authorities implementing and operating local schemes may also wish to have regard to these views.