consultations concept

Food Inspection Reporting System (FIRS) :
Case Study: Winchester City Council

safe2eat screenshot

Food Standards Agency's initiative for the 'Scores on the Doors' system for rating and publishing the results of food safety inspections gaining considerable momentum.

  • Corporate Identity
  • Design
  • Content Management System
  • FIRS Integration

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Winchester City Council located in the county of Hampshire was voted by the BBC as 'The Best Place to Live in the UK' and one would expect part of the pleasure of living in Winchester would be a good and varied choice of premises to buy and eat food. The Council has been inspecting and regulating about 1100 food premises for many years but has not published the results of its inspections to the public. As more information has been made available under the freedom of information act and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have been encouraging the publishing of such information Winchester City Council Environmental Health Officers decided that a system that displays the results of inspections would be appropriate. On further investigation with the Hampshire Food Group it was decided to co-operate with all the Local Authorities in Hampshire and that the development of a County wide solution would best serve the public and be cost efficient for all the authorities concerned. The project objectives were:

  1. Improve food safety in Hampshire by publicly displaying the outcomes of food hygiene inspections.
  2. To encourage Food Premise Owners to improve food hygiene standard levels above the legal minimum
  3. To provide a system that promotes continuously improvement in customer service levels for the Local Authorities and the Food Premise Owners
  4. To comply with the present and any future legislation

After a rigorous tendering process in which all the prospective suppliers were investigated the Hampshire Food Group chose the Web labs solution 'FIRS' - Food Inspection and Reporting System.

The criteria for the selection were:

  1. Proven experience of web technologies
  2. Ability to work with the Hampshire Food Group
  3. Flexibility to offer every member of the group their own distinct branding
  4. Ability to extend the information published in the future
  5. Ability to change the system if the future to cope with changing legislation and market needs
  6. Reliable, proven and scalable technology that is easy to use by Local Government Officers
  7. Most commercially advantages

As the simple publishing of professional officers inspection report would not be most easily understood by the public it was decided that an easy to understand and common system for scoring food premises would be implemented along the lines of the FSA initiative. The system was thoroughly discussed and agreed between the Food Group members and it was decided to implement a system 'Excellent', 'Satisfactory' and 'Unsatisfactory' Acceptable as the most easily understood by the public with the provision that this could be globally changed for all or individual members should legislation or public feedback requested a change. The Group also decided that a more meaningful name to the public than 'Scoresonthedoors' and one that would address their major concern would be Safe2Eat

To minimise any additional work to be done by the inspecting officers it was decided that the officers would enter food inspection report information into their back office systems e.g. Uniform as usual, the back office system would then export a standard file format that would be imported into the Web-labs system for instant error and format checking at any time convenient to individual LA's

The imported data is then computed to produce a Food Hygiene Score for each premise. The results can then be instantly published to each individual Local Authorities web site to exactly meet their own branding standards, whilst simultaneously publishing to County and UK Wide Portals.

The system has been a great success in the entire County encouraging the collaboration between Local Government Officers and Premise Owners with the result that there has been an improvement Food Hygiene Standards.

The feedback from the public has been very positive and encouraging and it is hoped that future developments of the system will be equally well received.


We are delighted with the results of the project and our decision to go with Web Labs has been confirmed as the best solution available. The project meets all of its objectives and the website has been a significant driving force to increase scores of many premises across Hampshire and has succeeded above and beyond what we were expecting. Here at Winchester we have been able to change our inspection regime to focus on poor performing food businesses. Initially we started with about 60 unsatisfactory premises and are now down to 15. The Web Labs team are prepared to listen to all our ideas and develop a solution that meets all our needs. They are equally keen to promote new ideas for improvement and ensure that the system is attractive to the public and food businesses alike. We are all aware that the long term success will be the attractiveness and value of the information on our site that makes the public aware of what we are doing. The Web Labs Technology from their proven enterprise Content Management System and Database technology has been very reliable and their design skills are obvious for all to see.

In the future the developments will include further interesting and relevant information for the public and enhancements for cooperating and improving premise owners to add their own content. All this is designed to ensure that the public regard the safe2eat portal or the local authorities own web pages as the sites to visit to obtain information about food premises. This will enable the project to maintain its momentum and success.
Kevin Gosling Commercial Team Manager -Winchester City Council

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