The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force 1 October 2018.
Changes to the length of the licence
Any renewal or new applications received will be issued a licence according to the risk score and star rating following inspection by a qualified inspector.
A premises with a low risk score and high rating would be issued a licence up to 3 years (excluding the issue Keeping and Training Animals for Exhibition).
The purpose is to ensure consistency in implementation and operation of the licensing system by local authorities, and to ensure that consumers can be confident that the star rating applied to the business is an accurate reflection of both their risk level and animal Welfare.
Star Rating Appeal
To ensure fairness to businesses this procedure explains how businesses can dispute the star rating given to their business after their local authority inspection. This procedure is relevant where the business feels the star rating does not reflect the animal welfare standards and risk level of the business at the time of the inspection. This process is not to be used if a business has made improvements and wishes to be re-assessed - in this case the business should apply for a re-inspection.
- In the first instance the business is encouraged to discuss their star rating informally with the 'inspecting officer'. This will allow for a full explanation of how the rating was decided to be discussed. Any discussions do not form part of the formal process and do not change the timeframe for lodging an appeal. An appeal can be withdrawn after the informal discussion. A star rating cannot be changed after an informal discussion but the business can apply for a re-inspection at their cost after implementing any recommendations that could result in a higher star rating (due to the nature of the star rating it may not be possible for a star rating to be improved upon, the criteria can be found by clicking here.
A formal appeal will need to be submitted to the Licensing Authority in writing within 21 days of the receipt of the licence (this includes weekends and bank holidays).
The local authority then has 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date they receive the appeal to determine the appeal. The local authority will inform the business of their decision upon the determination of the appeal but no later than 21 days after the Environmental Health and Licensing Department have received the paperwork.
- The appeal will be determined by Head of Service. Any officer involved in the production of the rating or the inspection on which the rating is based on will not consider the appeal.
- The outcome of the appeal will be determined after considering the inspection reports and all associated paperwork along with the past record of the business alongside the star rating criteria. In some cases a further visit may be required. The cost of the visit will be borne by the applicant unless it results in a higher rating being awarded. (An appeal can be withdrawn at this stage should the business not want to pay for an inspection) The requirement for a visit will depend on the nature of the dispute and whether or not a decision can be made on the basis of the inspection report.
- If the business disagrees with the outcome of the appeal the decision can be challenged by way of judicial review. it is advised that the business seeks its own legal advice ahead of any judicial review proceedings. The busines also has recourse to the local authority complaints procedure (taking the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman where appropriate) if they consider that the service as not been properly delivered.
- If your issue is in relation to the Star Rating scheme itself rather than the inspecting officers interpretation of it you will need to contact DEFRA by clicking here or PIF by clicking here; who are the organisations responsible for the drafting of the scheme.
To appeal a star rating please email licensing by clicking here.
Frequently asked questions:
Q1. When should businesses be rated?
Businesses should be rated following an inspection that takes place prior to grant /renewal of the licence or a requested re-inspection. Businesses may be also re-rated following an unannounced or additional inspection (e.g. following a complaint), if major issues are highlighted that require follow up action.
Q2. When should new businesses be rated?
New businesses should be rated following their initial inspection.
Q3. Where businesses have a licence for multiple activities within the scope of the regulations, should each activity be rated separately?
The licence holder should receive only one rating, which must cover all activities. Where they are meeting different standards (e.g. meeting the higher standards for dog breeding, but the minimum standards for dog boarding), the overall score should reflect the lower of the two.
Q4. What information should the local authority provide with the star rating following inspection at which a rating was determined?
The following information should be provided in writing:
- The star rating itself
- Details of why the business was rated as it was. This should include a list of higher standards that the business is currently failing to meet, if it is considered to be in the minor failing category. This should also include a copy of the risk management table showing the scores under each point. Details recorded must be sufficient to support the score given for each element to facilitate internal monitoring or enable review where an appeal is made.
- Details of the appeals process and the deadline by which an appeal must be made.
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