Information Commissioner orders release of hygiene inspection reports

A press release from the Information Commissioner reports that Bridgend County Borough Council has been ordered to disclose the latest hygiene inspection report for a local hotel. The council had refused to release the information following a freedom of information request.

Richard Thomas, said: "Bridgend County Borough Council argued that the release of inspection reports would undermine the way it carries out its responsibilities, but we were unable to agree that their refusal to disclose was justified under the Freedom of Information Act. The public has a right to know what health inspections discover. Well run restaurants have nothing to fear – and much to gain – from public scrutiny. Publishing inspection reports will put pressure on restaurants to raise their standards."

In another case, Hammersmith and Fulham council in London backed down and agreed to publish hygiene reports after Which?, the consumers' rights organisation, complained to the Commissioner. Nick Stace, campaign director of Which?, said: "Eating out at the moment is a lottery for people who have no way of knowing whether their chosen restaurant is clinically clean or swimming in filth."

Freedom of Information secures release of restaurant reports (PDF document, Information Commissioner's website, 14 December 2005)

Watchdog dishes the dirt on restaurants (The Guardian, 14 December 2005)