Series following council officers. Local council officers take a superstore to task over spotlights keeping residents awake at night.
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From waste and recycling
to pest control and trading standards.
The taxes that we pay to our local councils
are used to provide many of our most essential services.
I like people who are keen to recycle.
In this series, we follow the front line staff
working behind the walls of Tameside Town hall in Greater Manchester.
Like council officers across the country,
these local heroes are waging war on those blighting our communities.
Oi, oi! Excuse me, love, you can't do that.
They're protecting us from hidden dangers...
If there's rodent activity in your kitchen, you won't be opening tonight. It's that simple.
..making sure our cash is spent on those who need it most...
I'm at a loose end. I do not know where to turn.
..and responding to their residents when they Call The Council.
The Council are forced to stage a clean-up of rotting rubbish
blighting a neighbourhood...
There was loads of stuff that was sufficient to attract vermin.
..wage a war on cockroaches...
That there is all the faeces of cockroaches.
..help two young food business operators make the best possible starts...
If you are a bit unsure about something give me a ring
and I'll pop in and go through it with you
and make sure you know exactly what you need to fill in.
..and help a homeowner get a peaceful night's sleep
when she calls the council.
When the lights are on, it's reminiscent of runway lights.
Some day an aircraft might come down.
The United Kingdom's 433 local authorities are the heartbeat
of the country, keeping homes and businesses running,
chasing down rogue traders and protecting public money.
East of Manchester, Tameside Council is determined to deliver
the best possible service for and on behalf of each and every resident.
On the front line of public protection
stand enforcement officers like Phil Rodgers.
Nobody likes to be told what to do.
I think the British people in general have
a reticence about people telling them what to do.
But I'm not the overbearing, big, bad man from the council,
although sometimes that has to be the case
in order to get people to comply with what you want them to do.
Today, Phil's been alerted to a house
with a drive full of festering waste.
On this particular occasion I was conducting an inspection of
the property next door and I noticed as I walked past
the property that there was a large collection of refuse in there.
I took some photographs of it and I wrote a letter
to the individuals at the property,
asking them to dispose of this accumulation of rubbish.
It's not been collected, they've not been disposed of,
so I am going to make a legal demand
that they move them by the issuing of a legal notice.
Poorly managed waste poses a risk to public health.
If left to fester it becomes toxic
and a breeding ground for disease-ridden rodents
and illnesses like salmonella, E.coli and deadly listeria.
If you feel your community is being blighted by dangerous waste,
you could call council officers like Phil
and fellow enforcement officer Louise Ashton.
After trying and failing to contact the homeowner,
Phil and Louise are en-route to hand deliver the notices
and, if anyone's home,
ask them to clear the waste as quickly as possible.
There are human issues at stake here
and so me and my colleague Louise are going to
attempt to at least make contact with the owner of the house
and see if we can resolve the situation
before it becomes necessary for us to take legal action.
The purpose of this visit is to deliver notices primarily.
-If we can speak to the owner,
and try and get access to the property while we are here,
and see if there is anything that we might be able to assist them with.
-Shall we dance?
But it's only as the officers arrive
that the full scale of the problem surfaces.
There was lots and lots of black bin bags full of household rubbish
of all denominations and sorts and sizes.
Bedding, bed sheets, duvets, covers.
There was used kitty litter in bags.
Just loads of stuff that was sufficient to attract vermin.
-It doesn't look like anybody's in.
'There was no answer to the door when we went, unfortunately,'
and therefore we were sort of compelled to act
from that point forward to get rid of it.
It's a good job you've got me to pick these things up.
Coming up, Phil calls in the council cavalry
to clear the dirty drive.
How many duvets? That must be about 30 duvets!
Phil and Louise are just two of the UK's dedicated council officers
battling on our behalf.
They're joined by thousands of others nationwide
whose numbers include pest control officers like Brian Whelan.
Their mission is to keep pests like rats, cockroaches and pigeons
under control and stop the spread of the diseases they carry.
We share the UK with an estimated 18 million feral pigeons
that can spread diseases like salmonella and tuberculosis.
Their droppings deface buildings and structures
and can in the long term destroy them.
They also make pavements, ladders and fire escapes dangerous to use.
Combined deposits weigh several tonnes
and cost us £15 million a year to clear up.
In Tameside after calls from concerned market traders,
Brian's been waging war against the local pigeon population
whose droppings have been blighting the market square.
I know it's not a pleasant job,
but someone has to do it unfortunately.
By killing the pigeons lured into his traps
and erecting signs to stop people encouraging them into the area by
feeding them, Brian is campaigning hard to bring their numbers down.
Can't get any plainer than that, can you?
Please do not feed pigeons.
The new signs have been in place for several weeks and now
Brian's back to inspect his traps on the roof of the market hall.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
I probably took out about 3,500, 4,000 pigeons.
in four, five years. That's not bad. Not bad going.
No pigeons in the traps is a bad sign.
It means the birds are still present in the market square,
which in turn indicates that they're still being provided with food.
The numbers have come down now
because we've been catching anything up to 20,
some days four, some days 20, some days 30 in the traps.
So they've come down, there's only about 30 left there.
I'd like to say that the signs are working but unfortunately I think
there are still people feeding them and getting away with it.
To keep the pigeons away from the area and keep the monuments and
seating area clear of pigeon waste the council have introduced
on-the-spot fines of £75 for culprits
if they're caught feeding them.
But it seems, even with the threat of a fine,
some locals are determined to disobey the council.
I've just been tipped off about a guy that's feeding the pigeons
and the town management has had a word with him and he's ignored them
so I'm going to try and get hold of him
and catch him in the act now and explain to him
the reason why we don't want him feeding the birds, so...
hopefully we'll catch him in the act.
They are now chucking it down on the right-hand side.
'When we were going up to approach him,'
he sort of had his hands down the side
and he's walking as if he was just sort of shaking it down.
'It just looked so wrong!'
You can't do that round here. No.
Stop doing it. There are signs over there that say do not feed the birds
or anything like that.
He was just bemused about it.
He thought he was doing right.
All you're doing is encouraging them to come down here,
then I'm putting traps on and necking them.
It doesn't make any odds, mate, they get plenty of food.
No, what's happening is they're going underneath these stalls
and cacking all over people's goods
so the traders aren't happy about it neither, mate.
You keep feeding them, you are just encouraging them.
It's not against any law, mate. You can't feed them.
No, but we can catch them and have them removed out of the way.
You are feeding them and encouraging them to come down here
and what will happen is you will start getting fined.
So if you are happy to pay £75 fine every time you feed a bird,
mate, that's fine by me. All right?
So, jack it in, yeah?
What they've got to realise is
there's poor people who are at food stalls,
people sat there eating food and everything
and you've got these starlings and pigeons flying all around the place.
I would want to eat here, you know what I mean?
At the end of the day they are trying to do a trade.
Then you've got traders there that have them flying underneath
the market stalls and pooing on their goods.
So it's not fair for them.
And sometimes the only way to stop it is come down on people.
And give them fines, and make them pay the fines,
and then they'll stop doing it.
I'm sure if I got a £70 fine,
I'm sure I wouldn't feed a pigeon or bird.
Not worth it for the price.
With the bit between his teeth, this is one battle that this
hard working council hero is determined to win.
A key weapon in almost every local council's armoury
is its Trading Standards team.
They're charged with protecting us from rogue traders
whatever business they're in.
A recent study found that over 60% of us
have been targeted by dodgy dealers.
And the work of our council's Trading Standards teams
directly saves us around £350 million every year.
So while many of the council's investigations
are motivated by a resident's complaint,
an important scheme exists to help us avoid
falling into the trap of using a rogue trader in the first place.
We're getting a lot of complaints for your rogue traders,
so, them going visiting the elderly, the vulnerable people
in Tameside, going quoting from jobs and using scare tactics
and getting them to pay extortionate prices
and either not having the work carried out
or being carried out very poorly.
Across the country 53 local authorities operate
the Buy With Confidence Scheme.
The scheme's designed to provide us consumers
with a list of trustworthy businesses and tradespeople
that have been vetted and approved
by Trading Standards officers like Nicola Briers.
We found the Buy With Confidence Scheme, and we decided to adopt it.
The idea was, was to maybe have 20 traders of different...
You know, an electrician, plumber and that kind of thing
and to approve them and just to give it out to our elderly
and vulnerable residents and it just got more and more popular
and everybody wanted it,
it wasn't just the elderly that wanted this kind of list.
Just general members of the public found it really useful
and it's just grown from there, really.
Vacuum sales and repair man Christopher Duffy
is keen to be added to the approved list
so he's called the council to apply.
It's a brilliant scheme.
They vet you that much and you have got to be established so many years.
It stops dodgy traders.
And it gives people the confidence who want to get, say,
a domestic appliance repair,
gives them confidence that they are getting
the right person to do the job.
Membership of the scheme is not granted lightly.
Nicola is happy with Christopher's complaints history
and customer references but is concerned about
a potential anomaly in his business records.
The only couple of things I wanted to check with you -
I couldn't find your VAT number on the website,
so that needs to go on unless I missed it...
-I thought we had to put it up there.
I couldn't see it on the website, unless I wasn't looking properly.
Terms and conditions I couldn't find it.
Joining the Buy With Confidence scheme, I think it will increase
my business but it will give my customers
a bit more confidence to call me out,
or to buy stuff or to bring repairs in here.
Obviously we've had people on the scheme that
we've had to take off, you know, that if we do get complaints
about them then we will remove them from the scheme
so it is, there is a trust element there, that I'm trusting them
that they are going to do a really good job and that's
what I try to sort of drum in to them when I go and see them.
Nicola also has to check that all communication
with his customers includes his full business details,
and his stall meets health and safety regulations.
If Ann has an accident, I tell her to write it down
-but I don't take any notice.
-See, I can't shut this.
-No, you can't shut it, it's that full, isn't it?
-At least you've got one.
-Have you got one, Dave?
-Oh, you see!
-So I'm happy to put you on.
Obviously we need to make sure them points are addressed
and everything's made so I will be checking up on you,
making sure that they are changed and everything and then you got...
-even got some pens and a bag.
Yeah, we got loads of pens here.
-We'll never be short of pens.
-We are well happy now.
The Buy With Confidence Scheme is being adopted
by an increasing number of councils in the UK
so if you want to find a safe, pre-approved trader,
simply call your council.
From Trading Standards to waste management,
the demands we place on our local councils
for the vital services they provide never stops.
I can help with that.
But faced with cuts to their budgets by central government,
councils across the country are being forced
to make difficult decisions about their services.
It's staff in council call centres and receptions nationwide
that are the first to respond when we call to complain.
I don't think sometimes people appreciate
the pressure that's on councils now.
Sometimes, the services just can't run
how people are used to them being run.
Usually they want things doing
and they want things doing now, as they say.
With the current climate you do get
some people who are very upset.
You get some people who are in hardship.
You get people that can be abusive.
It's always our fault, obviously,
but that's just...
That's just what we have to deal with.
You've just got to calm them down. Fingers crossed it gets dealt with
and then we don't see them again in two weeks' time.
Against the background of cuts,
pest control officers like Brian Whelan
battle on when their residents call the council.
He's en route to get rid of some unwanted insects
that have moved into someone's flat.
We're just off to a job now.
This gentleman's got cockroaches in his flat.
And we are going to treat it again.
There's quite a lot last time I was there,
so I'm hoping they've come down in numbers.
Having tried and failed once to remove the roaches,
Brian's been called back by the flat owner
because he wants them exterminated once and for all.
I never think, "Oh, God, it's another rat job," or,
"Oh, God, it's another cockroach." It never is, you know?
It's something different all the time.
I think if you look on it on that aspect,
you know, then you'll stay with a blank mind
and it's a blank canvas then when you go in,
and you can actually go in and assess the job,
realise what you're going to do, what bait you're going to use,
where you're going to put it and everything.
Cockroaches carry many diseases including salmonella,
E.coli, Hepatitis E, diarrhoea and dysentery.
Their shed skins and by-products have even been found to cause
increased rates of asthma and allergies.
They have a reputation for being indestructible
but Brian's feeling bullish.
Every pest you can get control of it.
Er...it's just the fact that some take a little bit longer.
Some aren't as quick at getting rid of them
and it's just one of them things.
This is one of the applicants we're going to use.
It's a feed, it's the bait. It's a source that they feed off
and then take it back and feed the young and everything.
This is an insecticide spray. I'm just going to have a look
and see what it's like, see how bad it is.
Cockroaches don't wait to be invited into our homes.
They'll access through any open cracks or crevices
before living and breeding in dark, warm spaces
like those behind fridges.
See them on the floor?
There's one running here now.
and that is all the faeces of the cockroaches.
The reason why they tend to go for these backs of fridges
and motors is these are insulated
and also they've got the warmth of the motor so you've got the heat
rising all the time so it's nice and warm for them for breeding in.
I can't spray with an insecticide. The simple reason is
it's electrical and there's every chance of it blowing up
so we always use a gel,
but we do have powders, but this stuff is absolutely fantastic.
As well as gels and insecticides like Brian's, to rid your home
of roaches you need to do a thorough clean-up to remove any sources
of food, water and excessive clutter that cockroaches love to live in.
Last time I pulled it out they just ran everywhere,
absolutely went everywhere. Today we've pulled it out,
there's about three or four of them.
There's a lot of babies knocking about but that's what you want
cos you're killing the adults, they are not going back feeding,
then the babies will come looking for food so the poison works.
It also helps to have a little bit of experience.
It's all right, you know,
doing all your book exercises and doing everything in a classroom.
but until you actually come out
and start doing the jobs on a regular basis,
that's when you start getting a feel for it and start knowing things.
Obviously you need your qualifications that are there
and everything but, at the same time,
experience is better than anything.
Gel laid, Brian's job is done.
The poison will get to work and the resident should soon see
and end to his infestation.
No matter how bad that particular customer makes it sound,
when you go to it and see it, I mean, you do think,
"God, this is bad," but you've got every confidence in the stuff that
you use and everything, you know that you will get it under control.
The primary priorities of our country's unsung council heroes
are protecting the public and serving their communities.
Sometimes this means putting themselves on the line
for the greater good.
A number of years ago, we were involved in cleaning up
a dirty house. The occupier turned from being
a reasonable person into an angry person
and came up the stairs towards us with an axe and a hammer.
I have been thrown out of a Chinese takeaway.
I felt I was doing my job but I could sense
that the owner was becoming increasingly annoyed with me
and then he actually just lost his temper
and he exploded and he ran me out of the business.
Today, enforcement officer Phil Rodgers is risking the wrath
of another Tameside resident.
He's already written to the owner of this private driveway
to demand the removal of rotting and potentially harmful rubbish.
But having received no response,
Phil and the council cavalry are taking matters into their own hands
by stepping onto the property and clearing up the mess.
-What do you reckon?
-A couple of hours.
The bin men will now do the work
that should have been the homeowner's job.
I'd be reasonably happy if we could get rid of most of the bags
with all the food waste in.
The old wooden furniture and plastic and stuff can stay
because that doesn't represent a vermin problem.
That'll go to the local tip.
The proper tip where it should have gone in the first place.
How many duvets is it? It must be about 30 duvets!
Hope that wasn't a Ming vase!
More like a minging vase!
You could live in here now, couldn't you?
Drive cleared and public health risk removed,
the clean up bill of nearly £200 will be sent to the homeowners.
As night falls in Tameside, most residents retreat
to the comfort of their homes, but like many of his council colleagues
nationwide, enforcement officer Phil Rodgers is still hard at work.
He's responding to a call to the council from a sleep-deprived resident.
I've had a complaint about some electrical light pollution
from the back of one of the superstores
so I'm just going to witness what she's experiencing
to see if she's got a reasonable complaint.
Anne Robinson says she's suffering from sleepless nights
because a nearby supermarket's lights
are shining directly into her bedroom.
When the lights are on it disturbs my sleep.
It's reminiscent of a runway lights.
And as we are under the flight path,
someday an aircraft might come down.
Down Great Norbury Street.
As the UK's population increases so does light pollution.
Today less than 10% of us enjoy a truly dark sky at night.
With 7.5 million street lights lining our roads
and floodlit warehouses operating around the clock,
neighbouring properties like Anne's are increasingly affected.
It's these white lights I think that she's complaining about.
So we'll have a wander around the front of the store and just see,
see in comparison to the street lights, how much brighter they are.
See, the problem we have with lighting is that a lot of the time
it's not directed in the right way.
So, if they wanted to light up the area surrounding the store
without affecting the nearby properties they really should
have a shield on the top, directing the light in a downward direction.
So we'll go and speak to her and see if we can find out
exactly what it is that's causing the problem.
If the light pollution is deemed excessive
and a therefore a legal nuisance, the council has the power
to demand that the lights are covered, restricted or removed.
Failure to comply could lead to fines of up to £50,000.
Is it Mrs Robinson? It's Mr Hodges from Tameside.
-Can we come in and have a quick chat?
-Yes, you can.
Right, Mrs Robinson, what I want you to do is for you to show me
-how it's causing you a problem.
-So, is it causing your problem here, in your front room?
-Is it in your bedroom?
-Are you OK to show me upstairs?
It just so happens you're right on a level with them, isn't it?
That's right. They are on from four...
-Is that the time they come on?
-Until about nine o'clock in the morning.
I'll just put the lights on.
Right, what I intend to do is I will seek to speak to
whoever has control over those lights
and find out what their exact purpose is.
Anne's spoken to the supermarket staff
but didn't achieve the desired effect.
Well, when I first went to see the manager...
-..he said, "Oh, I'll look into it."
And, for a while they turned some of the...
they turned the bottom lights off.
the ones up to the shed.
-At the bottom end? That doesn't affect you, does it?
-It's a 24-hour store that as well, isn't it?
-Do they stay on all night?
Right. I've already took some photographs from outside.
-Oh, have you?
-To give us an idea.
Without getting into the wherewithal of actually measuring
how bright they are and stuff,
we'll see if we can get some form of communication going
-I also, unfortunate for me, I have double vision
so sometimes I come up and they're not just one, there will be two!
-One above the other.
-Twice as many lights for the price!
So I'll see to have a word with him in the next seven days.
If I was to say to you they'll turn them off at 10 o'clock at night?
-Sort of 10 until six or something like that?
I suppose that's an option but I would prefer them to be off all together.
Let me see what their intention is with those lights anyway
and towards the end of that seven days I'll be back in touch.
-I've got your telephone number, haven't I?
-Is that OK.
-If you don't I shall ring you!
-I'm sure you will.
Right, OK, thanks very much. OK, ta-ra.
I wouldn't like that outside my bedroom window, I'll be perfectly honest.
I think they are a little bit on the bright side.
There is definitely no shielding.
They are not angled, which are all the things they should consider
when they are this close to domestic property.
Time for Phil to take up Anne's cause, talk to the supermarket,
and try to bring an end to her sleepless nights.
If your wellbeing is affected by increasing light pollution,
call your council who will help find a solution.
As well as tackling issues caused by our ever-evolving way of life,
our country's plucky council officers are also charged
with combating the age-old problem of food borne illnesses.
Every year a million people in the UK suffer with food poisoning.
The estimated cost to the UK's economy is a massive £1.5 billion.
But by law, Council officers like Simon Ashton are required
to inspect and rate the hygiene regimes at all of the country's
food outlets from zero to five,
according to criteria laid down by the Food Standards Agency.
The national food hygiene rating scheme
is so that people know
what the hygiene standards are like
in that business.
Is that business going to produce a safe product to eat?
We are not Gordon Ramsays going in there,
telling them how to cook food or anything.
It's about, purely about food safety.
Once rated, food businesses can choose to display their scores.
Having the ratings on show informs our decision
to buy food from a particular outlet.
Simon and his colleague Monica Gartside's work
often goes on unnoticed by taxpayers like you and I,
taking place after hours or behind closed doors.
But their tireless work on our behalf plays a crucial role
in keeping us safe.
The old title for the job is called health inspector.
It is about inspecting business premises
and inspecting standards of hygiene.
If I find something that's a so-called imminent risk to health
then I need to take action immediately.
As well as keeping a watchful eye on established food businesses,
council officers like Monica and Simon also assist
new operators who are just starting up.
Bilal Ahmed has recently taken over a fast food outlet
that had previously been shut down
because of its shocking cleanliness record,
but he's called the council for help to turn its fortunes around.
I started up this business about two months ago
and spent about 10 grand to refurbish this business.
When I bought this business it wasn't very good,
too many complaints from customers as well.
So when I moved in I closed for two months to set up inside.
All new food businesses must register with the Council
within 28 days of opening.
The council will then carry out an initial inspection,
offer help and advice ahead of the opening
and later inspect and rate the business's hygiene levels.
Give me a quick tour of the business and what you do, where.
Monica begins by assessing the basics.
I always go to the hand-washing basin area first
because hand washing is really important.
It's vitally important to stop the spread of disease.
I'm just going to wash my hands.
So have you got any other soap, Mr Ahmed.
'What I often find on inspection'
is that there's either no soap or towels at the wash hand basin.
And towels as well. Have you got any towels?
I need paper towels.
It's not a good start and Monica's by no means finished.
You just need to give this a good old clean.
'I think a lot of people are quite nervous about me turning up.
'They're quite nervous about what I'm going to find.'
Do you use degreaser? Have you got any of those things?
I also think it's important to point out good practice.
'So it's not all about telling them what's wrong.'
Yeah, this is degreaser in a way.
You can also buy commercial degreasers that are very strong.
-Did you make that one yourself?
What sort of date would you put on that if you made that yourself?
-I put three days.
Monitoring the temperature of the food is also key to ensuring
it's free from life threatening bacteria,
but Bilal's coming up short here too.
It's looking for 63 for this.
I think that's settling down, so that's too cold.
If the chicken can't stay at 63, it's two hours maximum.
It's been a tough test for Bilal,
but he's determined to improve and kick-start his fledgling business.
And with Monica's help he might just do it...
To be honest, you've done loads already.
He seemed to be genuinely interested in his business
and he wanted it to be as good as it could be.
You've made massive improvements from the previous owner.
If I were you I'd be aiming for five stars.
That's the top rating you can get.
It was lovely to meet somebody who was so enthusiastic
about what he was doing.
Monica will return to give Bilal's business a hygiene rating
from zero to five.
If he wants to get top marks,
he needs to make some important changes.
Clean and disinfect all the food equipment,
that includes the seals and all the fiddly bits, yeah.
If you could just get a really good degreaser and sanitiser,
that would be brilliant.
Then just to make sure hot temperatures
if you can't keep it above 63, just two hours.
And that's your copy there, keep the yellow one.
-OK, so thanks again for your time.
-Thanks so much.
Bilal's on a steep learning curve.
Owning a food business is not easy.
I have to definitely do these things
because I want to improve my business.
Also I want to improve my hygiene score as well.
But Bilal isn't the only young entrepreneur
pinning their hopes on a thriving food business.
While he takes on board Monica's advice,
across town, it's the day of reckoning for
this cafe's new owner, Kirsty Booth.
She is about to experience her first hygiene inspection
from environmental health officer Simon Ashton.
The rating at the moment is a five rating.
so that's the best it can get, so I'm hoping
that everything will be fine today and we can keep it at five.
Kirsty's only recently started to manage this small cafe
in the local market hall.
I'm 20 years old, it's mainly a family run business,
my little sisters work for me, my older sister works for me.
It's quite nice, everyone chips in really.
I do have a little boy so it was for him really, for a future for him.
A good opportunity for a good life for him.
This inspection's also an opportunity for newcomer Kirsty
to get a helping hand and benefit from Simon's 20 years of experience.
Right, OK, first things first, I'll wash my hands.
He'll be checking everything from cleanliness to food temperatures,
ensuring that the cafe's customers are safe to eat here.
Shall we start at the back and then work to the front?
You all right? That's good.
That's nice and clean. That's good.
I will just check the hot water.
Those tiles are a bit discoloured, aren't they?
You are asking yourself all the time when you're doing an inspection,
that doesn't look too good, what's the risk with that?
-This is the fridge that you use for...
'You are doing a risk assessment in effect for everything that you'
find as you are going around so you can imagine in a catering
business there is a lot of things that we need to be looking at.
That's a really good temperature. It is showing two degrees.
That is excellent.
You keep your salad items in here?
Again that's fine, that's showing eight, that's great.
OK, good temperature.
The fridge is showing eight degrees, which is good.
So that's fine.
Simon's happy with Kirsty's overall levels of hygiene,
but there's still one vital area he's yet to check...
So, let's have a look through here.
Every food business must use and comply with
the Food Management Safety pack.
It requires owners to keep records of their food hygiene practices.
These records go up to
mid-August and then you are into this diary section here.
But newcomer Kirsty hasn't been as vigilant as she should have been
and this could affect her rating.
The thing that's jumping out here really
is that you need to fill this pack in.
I get the impression that you have the procedures in place,
it's just you've not written them down. So, yeah,
you need to complete the staff training record sheets in here.
It can be quite difficult making a judgment, really.
but it's trying to get that balance of protecting the public
and, at the same time, you are fair to that business
and your actions are proportionate.
To be in a position to, say, give you a five
which would be moderate confidence,
I would have to say that you have written procedures in place.
Your cleaning schedule, the training records and that in the pack.
Unfortunately, you haven't really got that at the moment.
So what that means now is that your score will have come down to a four rating.
But, don't worry, what I would say is that
you are entitled to a re-rating visit after an inspection.
if you are a bit unsure about something,
give me a ring and I'll pop in and go through it with you
and make sure you know exactly what you need to fill in.
It's a small blow for Kirsty.
OK, well, thanks very much. Bye-bye now.
But thanks to Simon she's been given clear instructions
on how to win back her full five-star rating.
It's just another way that our councils work for us.
I was just expecting him to be more strict and a bit more...
I don't know, just not as nice as he was, I suppose.
I wasn't expecting him to be the way that he was so it's been nice.
What you are finding with this scheme is that
businesses are really keen to get a good score,
so when we do an inspection now, and we say at the end
of the inspection, "You need to do this work," you can
guarantee that in a couple of months they'll ring you up and say,
"I've done the work, will you come back and re-rate my business?"
So it's having a really positive effect, not only in terms of raising standards,
but it makes our job easier too.
I grew up in Hythe, so I'm familiar with this market. You know,
I used to come in when I was young child, and you want it to do well.
Coming up: Monica returns to rate Bilal's takeaway.
but can he achieve a perfect score?
I'm hoping this time I can get five-star.
Back at the Council HQ, like officers across the country,
Phil Rodgers has been battling to improve
the lives of the people he serves.
Resident Anne Robinson called the council
to complain about the lights of a nearby supermarket
that were causing her sleepless nights.
When the lights are on it disturbs my sleep.
I will seek to speak to whoever has control over those lights.
Phil's phoned the manager of the supermarket on Anne's behalf
and has found a resolution to the problem.
If you put those conditions in place and that works out
that would really, really help us out and resolve the situation, no problem.
Yeah, OK, thanks very much.
OK, thanks, goodbye.
We've come to an agreement by which they'll turn the lights off
at an appropriate hour so they are not on during sleeping hours,
which is a satisfactory conclusion for us
because it doesn't involve us in having to involve ourselves in enforcement action.
So a local agreement like that is a much, much better resolution for us
and we are trying to work with business, we're not trying to get anyone's back up in particular,
so it's a much nicer arrangement to resolve it in that particular way.
This is a great result for Phil,
he's resolved the issue amicably, avoiding an expensive legal route,
and it's also good news for Anne.
Hello, Mrs Robinson, it's Mr Rogers from the council, can I come in?
I put my feelings in writing, having spoken to them
and they are quite agreeable.
They assured me that even if they were on, they would be off by ten.
That was the agreement that we sort of made and has gone into
-their procedures as what they have said they will do.
they said to me that they are a security purpose light,
that's what they are for.
-Is that OK, then?
-Yes, that's lovely.
-Fantastic. I'm glad it's been resolved.
-Thank you very much.
By calling the council, Anne is finally able to get a good night's sleep.
I'm pleased at what's happened with the lights.
I'm hoping now that they won't be on again.
Back at Bilal's fledgling takeaway, he's nervously awaiting another
visit from council officer Monica Gartside.
Last time, Monica uncovered hygiene problems in the kitchen.
Have you got any other soap, Mr Ahmed?
You just need to give this a good old clean.
Do you use degreaser? Have you got any of those things?
She also found serious issues with the storage of cooked food.
That's too cold.
Monica's en route to inspect the takeaway and rate it.
Top marks will reassure customers
and give Bilal's business a welcome kick-start.
I just hope the officer, she likes it.
And I'm hoping this time I can get five stars.
-Hi, how are you?
To get the full five stars, Monica needs to be certain
that Bilal's done all she asked.
-Oh, you've changed it, that's new?
-Yeah, that's a new one.
It's a good start. Bilal has invested in a new hot food counter
to replace the faulty old one,
ensuring cooked food is kept at a safe temperature.
And this time there's a plentiful supply
of soap and hand towels at the sink for staff to wash their hands.
He's bought an industrial cleaning product to replace the weaker household brand.
And he's cleaned the kitchen thoroughly.
-That's fantastic, well done.
Really great. Well done.
Having probed every corner of the takeaway during her inspection,
its time for Monica to complete the paper work
and reveal the all-important hygiene score out of five.
I did more extra cleaning and followed the proper procedure.
So I'm hoping this time I get a five-star.
Under the previous owners, the takeaway had been forced
to shut down as it posed such a threat to public health.
But for Bilal it's now the moment of truth.
How has Monica rated his new business?
So, I've done your scoring and we've a national scheme we have to follow.
-So that makes you a five-star business, so congratulations.
Thank you so much.
A five-star rating is great news for Bilal.
His investment and hard work has paid off.
It was just wonderful to see the difference and also the fact that
he'd gained his five-star rating as well, because he had covered
all of the issues that needed to be addressed in the business.
Today is a very good day for me and my family.
This was a very big task for me, but I done very well.
I can't believe I got five stars, I'm very happy today.
Thanks to Bilal's determination and Monica's diligence
after he called the council for help,
the business has the result it wants,
ensuring that this takeaway's customers can eat here without fear.
It's taken a huge workload off our hands, the fact that
he's now in charge of that business. I wish everyone was like him.
For the unsung council heroes and their colleagues
across the country, the battle to protect the public goes on.
They're keeping our streets free from other people's waste...
That will go to the local tip,
the proper tip, where it should have gone in the first place.
..saving us from illness by supporting fledgling food businesses ...
I can't believe I got five-star. I am very happy today.
And protecting the public purse while improving resident's lives.
I am pleased at what's happened with the lights.
I'm hoping now that they won't be on again.
All of this, when we call the council.
Fighting to right wrongs on behalf of the people they serve, local council officers are forced to call in the council cavalry to clear a driveway filled with festering refuse, take a superstore to task over spotlights keeping residents awake at night and help a young business owner turn around a troublesome takeaway.