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Caithness News Bulletins April 2005

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The Highland Council has responded to public demand by placing all hygiene and health and safety inspection reports on its worldwide web site www.highland.gov.uk 

Although other Councils may follow, it is believed that the Council is the first local authority in the UK to place this information on the internet.

Recently, requests have been made for copies of food hygiene inspection reports in respect of all school kitchens and several individual restaurants/hotels etc. On each occasion, this information has had to be retrieved from records and forwarded to the applicant.

In order to make the information freely available in the future, the first food safety and health and safety inspection reports were posted on the Council's website today.

The recent introduction of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the amended Environmental Information Regulations (Scotland) 2004 have placed responsibility on public bodies to release held information on request, subject to certain exceptions. The legislation also makes provision for the active publication of information for public consumption.

Placing this information on the Council's website should: -

  • significantly reduce the administrative burden of dealing with individual freedom of information     requests,

  • publicise the work done by the Environmental Health Service

  • encourage a spirit of openness and accountability throughout the Highlands.

Alistair Thomson, Head of Environmental Health with The Highland Council, said:
"In terms of the new legislation, these inspection reports are public information. Anyone is entitled to see the reports. We are aware that this is a radical change and some business proprietors may not agree with our decision to put the information on the internet.

"We work closely with Highland businesses to improve standards and we would hope that this decision will not spoil relations already built up. However, the most important thing is the legal right of access by the public to this information.

"It doesn't make sense that people in the Highlands can see details on the internet of hygiene reports on New York restaurants but can't see the same information for Highland businesses. If publishing the reports also results in improved hygiene or health and safety standards or even quicker compliance, then so much the better."

Highland Council - Environmental Health Pages

Area Reports On Premises
Skye & Lochalsh
Nairn and Badenoch & Strathspey
Ross & Cromarty