Join the take-away inspection investigation

Over on The Northerner blog today I launched the start of an investigation to reveal the full findings of the food premises rated zero duirng inspections over the past year.

You can read the findings from the first two councils to release the information (Sunderland and Carlisle) and more are on their way in the next few weeks – they are Leeds, Manchester, and Middlesbrough.

If you’d like to join in with the investigation by filing your own Freedom of Information request to your local council here’s how:

Making the Freedom of Information request

1. Go to the site (you’ll need to sign up) and click on ‘make a request’.

2. You’ll be asked to ‘select an authority’ – that’s your local council.

3. After doing a search just to double check that the information isn’t already public, click on the tab to ‘make a request’.

4. Here is a template request using the form of words I’ve already used:

Dear [name of council],

Please treat the following questions as a Freedom of Information

I would like any response to be made electronically wherever
possible in spreadsheet form.

This request aims to establish details about the food hygiene
ratings in your area.

Please could you provide the full inspection reports for those
business premises given a food hygiene rating of zero in the last

Along with the inspectors full findings, please can you detail the
date of inspection, the date of the premises’ next inspection,
name, address and action required or undertaken.

Is there any additional information held about enforcement action
or improvements undertaken?

If you are only able to release some of the information I would ask
that you release this data rather than withhold the entire set.

If you would like more clarification on this issue do not hesitate
to contact me using this site – as I would expect to be contacted
should you need any clarification.

Please can you confirm that you have received this request and I’d
like to remind you that under the freedom of information act 2000
you are bound to respond in 20 days.

Yours faithfully,

5. The whatdo theyknow website will lead you through the process and give you the date when the information has to, by law, be released to you. Please just drop me a line via the comments below or by email ( to let me know you’ve requested it.

Posting your inspection report to The Guardian’s map

– The map is generated via so, if this is your first visit you’ll need to sign-up. You can do this via your existing Facebook or Twitter accounts or by creating a user name and entering your email address.
– once logged in, go to and click on ‘post a new report’
– you will be presented with a simple form asking for the information mentioned above.


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