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Evaluation of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) & Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS)
Project Code: FS244011
Policy Studies Institute
The Policy Studies Institute (PSI) has been commissioned by the FSA to undertake an evaluation of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) and Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS). Work began in autumn 2011 and the evaluation research programme is due to be completed in mid-2014.
The overall aim of the research is to systematically and robustly assess the operation (process evaluation) and identify the impacts (impact evaluation) of the national FHRS and FHIS, taking into account the existence of ‘local’ food hygiene rating schemes.
Full findings from the first stage of the evaluation, which looks at early implementation of the schemes, were published in March 2013. Early findings on the specific issue of the display of ratings/inspection results at food premises have been drawn out of data collected for the wider evaluation exercise and summarised in an interim report (first document below).
Fieldwork was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012 and included in-depth interviews with 38 staff from 22 local authorities and six case studies of local authority areas. Each case study included further in-depth interviews with local authority staff, in-depth interviews with food businesses and consumer discussion groups. Research participant views on the current voluntary approach to FHRS rating/FHIS inspection result display and the theoretical possibility of a mandatory approach were explored during the interviews and discussion groups.
Consumer and local authority participants in FHRS/FHIS areas were generally supportive of the principle of mandatory display. Views expressed by the small number of non-adopter local authority staff interviewed were generally more supportive of voluntary display. Businesses tended to be divided on the issue, with support for mandatory display expressed by some higher rated businesses.
Process study - Stage 1 report (March 2013)
This stage considered early implementation of FHRS and FHIS, when the schemes were still relatively new, when many local authorities were still operating their own ‘local’ hygiene rating schemes and before the Agency implemented its national communications strategy.
The main findings are as follows:
- Generally local authorities recognised the benefits of a single national scheme and any barriers to adopting the scheme were practical and/or financial in nature.
- FHRS/FHIS were viewed by local authorities as a tool to enhance their enforcement role. This would be further strengthened if display of ratings by food businesses became mandatory.
- Consumer awareness of the scheme was generally low at this stage, but there was evidence of the FHRS influencing those who had some awareness of the scheme.
- Few food business operators fully understood the details of the scheme, but there was evidence that some had made changes and improved their rating.
- Interim Report on Mandatory Display
- Process Evaluation: Early Implementation Study Method Plan
- Stage 1 - Process study
- Case study - England 1
- Case study - England 2
- Case study - England 3
- Case study - Scotland
- Case study - Wales
- Case study - Northern Ireland
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