Inspections, star ratings and decisions

Refusal, revocation or variation of a licence

The Council may decide to:

  • refuse to grant a licence;
  • refuse to renew a licence;
  • revoke a licence; or
  • vary a licence

If you disagree with the decision of the Council, you may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal within 28 days beginning with the day following the date of the decision to the:

General Regulatory Chamber
HM Courts & Tribunals Service
PO Box 9300

Telephone: 020 3936 8963

The First-tier Tribunal may on application and until the appeal is determined or withdrawn, permit a licence holder to continue to carry on a licensable activity or any part of it subject to the licence conditions.

On appeal, the First-tier Tribunal may overturn or confirm the Council’s decision, with or without modification.

Star ratings

Star ratings are based on a combination of the business score for current animal welfare standards and risk - for example, history of compliance.

New applicants that do not have one year of compliance history with a local authority or a UKAS-accredited body will be automatically rated as high risk.

Star ratings are based on the standards found at the inspection of the business. They determine how many years the licence may be granted for and how regularly you will receive unannounced inspection visits with the licence period. The justification for your star rating will be made clear in the inspection report.

A star rating can change after an unannounced inspection, either as part of the licence holder’s licence conditions or to investigate an issue. For example, a star rating could go down after an inspection to investigate an animal welfare complaint.

You will receive only one rating, which will cover all the activities on your licence. If your activities are meeting different standards - for example, meeting the higher standards for dog breeding but the minimum standards for dog boarding - the overall score will reflect the lower of the two.

Any new business is not permitted to have any minor failings. They must reach the minimum standards, as the lowest rating a new premise may receive is 2 star.

Any renewal of licences may be awarded 1 to 5 stars.

  • 1 star rating indicates minor administrative failings
  • 2 to 3 star ratings indicates that minimum standards have been achieved - dependant on length of licence granted
  • 4 to 5 star ratings indicates that higher standards have been achieved - dependant on length of licence granted
  • after your star rating has been determined, it will be added to your licence

Your licence must be displayed by the business and posted on your website if you have one.

Appeals against star ratings

If you want to appeal the star rating given by the officer undertaking the inspection on behalf of the Council, the appeal should be made in writing (this can be done via email) to the Licensing Partnership within 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) after your licence has been issued.

If you're disputing a rating, we encourage you to discuss this informally first with the Animal Welfare Officer at the Council (not the City of London Veterinary Service) so that there is an opportunity to help explain how the rating was worked out. This may help resolve the matter without you having to lodge an appeal.

Any such discussions do not form part of the formal appeal process and do not change the deadline within which an appeal must be lodged.

The Council then has 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date they receive the appeal to consider the appeal, within which time they must issue a decision to the business.

The Council will determine the outcome of an appeal by considering the paperwork associated with the inspection and the past record of the business. In some circumstances, a further visit to the establishment may be required.

The costs of any additional inspections related to the appeal will be borne by the licence holder unless it results in a higher rating being awarded. This will depend on the nature of the dispute and whether a decision can or cannot be made on the basis of the paperwork.

The delegated officer at the Council will determine the appeal. No officer involved in the production of the rating or in the inspection on which the rating is based should consider the appeal.

If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal, you can challenge the Council’s decision by means of judicial review. The business also has recourse to the Council’s complaints procedure (including taking the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman where appropriate).

The appeal process should not be used if the business has made improvements to their business and wishes to be re-assessed. In this case, they should apply for re-inspection (see below).

For more information about appealing against a star rating, please contact the licensing hub team.

Licensing Partnership
PO Box 182
TN13 1GP

Email or

Telephone 01732 227004 or 020 3045 5671

Request a re-inspection of your star rating

A licence holder may request a re-inspection at any time in writing (an email is acceptable) and whilst there is no limit to the number of such re-inspection requests, there are fee implications (please refer to charges for further information on fees payable) to doing so and the Council should carry out a re-inspection within three months of receipt of the written request and fee paid.

The re-inspection applies in cases where businesses with ratings of ‘1’ to ‘4’ have accepted their rating and have subsequently made the necessary improvements to address non-compliances identified during the Council’s last inspection. Please be aware that re-inspection for re-rating purposes could lead to a lower rating being awarded rather than an increase in rating.

The written request should indicate the actions that have been taken by the business to improve the level of compliance or welfare since the inspection and, where appropriate, should include supporting evidence.

If you have not provided evidence, the Council can refuse to undertake a re-inspection on that basis. We will explain why the request is being refused and provide priority actions that must be taken in order to improve the rating and indicate what evidence will be required for agreement to a re-inspection to be made on further request.

If you disagree with our decision to refuse a request for a re-inspection, you can raise the issue with the delegated officer of the Council.

For more information about requesting a re-inspection, please contact the licensing hub team.

Licensing Partnership
PO Box 182
TN13 1GP

Email or

Telephone 01732 227004 or 020 3045 5671


An inspection will be undertaken for a new grant of a licence and as part of the renewal process for a licence.

For the activity of hiring out horses there is a requirement for an annual inspection by a vet even if there is a 2 or 3 year licence in place. This is at an additional cost to the licence holder.

Unannounced inspections can also be carried out and should be used in the case of complaints or other information that suggests licence conditions are not being complied with or that the welfare of the animals involved in a licensed activity is at risk.

However, an inspector may not enter any part of the premises which is used as a private dwelling unless 24 hours’ notice of the intended entry is given to the occupier.

Parts of the premises which are not a private dwelling may be entered by an officer if the premises are specified in a licence as premises on which the carrying on of an activity is authorised or is a premises on which he reasonably believes an activity to which a licence relates is being carried on.

Mid term inspections will also be carried out during the term of the licence and this is also at an additional cost to the licence holder.