Scores on the doors’ (SOTD) schemes are intended to assess food businesses against legal compliance. This is commonly an assessment against three parts of the Inspection Rating Scheme, namely, hygiene compliance, confidence in management/control systems and structural hygiene. A certificate is given to the business after a routine hygiene inspection and displayed on the window, door or a public access area of the premise.
The ultimate aim of the evaluation was to inform FSA decisions on a national SOTD scheme. This evaluation provided information from the period to end of 2007 of current schemes regarding:
- Impact on Local Authorities and businesses;
- Rates of display amongst businesses;
- Level of awareness and comprehension amongst consumers and businesses;
- Whether consumers will take account of the award (or lack of one) in their consumption behaviour;
- Whether it prompts improved food hygiene standards amongst food businesses.
The evaluation included:
- A postal survey of businesses that had received a SOTD certificate or letter;
- A telephone survey of SOTD businesses to acquire more open ended feedback;
- A series of workshops with Local Authorities (LAs) operating SOTD to acquire their subjective feedback on the aims, design, impact and experience of schemes;
- Online questionnaires for Local Authorities operating SOTD to indicate their aims, the design of the schemes, their impact on the authority and their opinion of the scheme;
- An assessment of hygiene inspection data provided by local authorities from before and after certification, along with the inspectors’ judgement of change in standards;
- Observation of certificate display;
- A consumer study by Continental Research to (1) quantitatively gauge the level of consumer awareness and usage of schemes and (2) quantitative and qualitative reactions to pilot certificates/schemes.
A national SOTD scheme could be recommended on the grounds that:
- 97% of consumers support the idea, as do the majority of businesses and most LAs operating SOTD express satisfaction with them;
- A national scheme may have the presence to increase awareness and hence impact, and a national scheme, with national advertising, would reduce reliance on LAs’ resources;
- There was some evidence that SOTD could encourage improved food hygiene and facilitate self compliance amongst business due to the incentive offered by certificates as well as provide a basis for businesses to be positively engaged with LAs.
The evidence available to this evaluation provided a basis to offer some recommendations on features of a scheme,
For further details and to view the report click here.