Higher risk businesses are more frequently inspected than lower risk businesses, e.g. a small retailer selling a variety of packaged foods in advance.
The period between inspections varies from six months for the highest risk business to two years for lower risk businesses. For some businesses that pose a very low risk, the period between inspections may be longer than two years.
To focus on businesses with lower hygiene standards, each local authority plans a program of inspections each year. Each local authority is responsible for a diverse number of food businesses so the program is designed to ensure that they inspect and score the food sites that most pose the greatest risk to human health.
Between inspections, local authorities can also monitor businesses in other ways to ensure they maintain hygiene standards at all times. If these checks reveal anything that may indicate that standards of hygiene have deteriorated, the officer will conduct an inspection and the business will receive a new score.
If the local authority receives a complaint or new information about a business that is not on the inspection timetable, which suggests that hygiene standards are not maintained, the local authority will investigate and can inspect the business and give the business a new hygiene rating.