Dear Bassetlaw District Council,
In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, and subject to section 40(2) on personal data, could you please provide me with a complete and up-to-date list of all business (non-residential) property rates data for your local authority, and including the following fields:
- Billing Authority Property Reference Code (linking the property to the VOA database reference)
- Firm's Trading Name (i.e. property occupant)
- Full Property Address (Number, Street, Postal Code, Town)
- Occupied / Vacant
- Date of Occupation / Vacancy
- Actual annual rates charged (in Pounds)
If you are unable to provide an absolute “Occupation / Vacancy” status, please provide the Exemptions and / or Reliefs that a particular property may be receiving.
Please provide these data as machine-readable as either a CSV or Microsoft Excel file, capable of re-use, and under terms of the Open Government Licence (meaning reuse for any and all purposes, including commercial).
I last requested this data three months ago, and this is a request for an updated and current dataset.
I'm sure you get many requests for business rates and responding and managing these FOIs must be costly for you. Could I request that - as 65% of local authorities now do - you update and release this dataset via a dedicated page on your local authority website or on an open data service. I can recommend approaches for you to consider, and you should find that this reduces the time and cost of this request process.
I am not in the office now until Tuesday 10 April if you have any queries
01909 533533 ask for
Stephen Wormald or alternatively email
Kerry France or alternatively email – [email address]
Stella Bacon or alternatively email – [email address]
Bassetlaw District Legal Administrator
Council Bassetlaw District Council Queens Buildings, Potter
Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2AH
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information
I refer to your request sent update with date requesting information
pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Your request can be summarised as:
“Information relating to commercial premises in Bassetlaw”
Whilst the Act confers a general right of access to information held by
public authorities section 1 provides that “any person making a request
for information to a public authority is entitled:
a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request; and
b) if that is the case to have that information communicated to him,
subject to the effect of the exemptions in Part 11 of the Act.
Therefore pursuant to the Council’s duty to confirm or deny whether or not
it holds the information requested I confirm that the Council does hold
some of the information contained within your request.
Please find attached the information requested which was based on data
available as at 27 April 2018. Please note the Business Rates system is a
live system and account liabilities can change on a daily basis.
In respect of your request for the occupied/ vacant status of the
addresses provided, I am refusing that part of your request under section
31(1)(a) of the Act.
Section 31(1)(a) states that “Information which is not exempt information
by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this
Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice – (a) the prevention or
detection of crime…”
The Council considers that providing information as to whether properties
are empty, and therefore placing this information in the public domain,
would place the security of those properties at risk. Disclosure would
place the properties at a higher risk of burglary and vandalism.
In applying the exemption the Council has considered the public interest
test. The Council considers that the public interest in maintaining the
exemption, in the interests of crime prevention, outweighs the public
interest in disclosing the information.
The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015
I note your request that the information is provided in a format capable
of re-use, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Under section
6(d) of the Regulations, a request for re-use must state the purpose for
which the document is to be re-used. I therefore request that you confirm
the purpose, to enable the Council to consider your request.
If you are dissatisfied with the Freedom of Information response set out
in this letter, you are able to utilise the Council’s complaints procedure
which allows one right of review via this system. Details can be found
using the link below:
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint
the Act confers a further right to complaint to the Information
Commissioner at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk or by writing to
Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF (telephone 06125 545745), email [email address] , however
the Information Commissioner will not usually consider a complaint if the
complainant has not exhausted the Council’s complaints procedure.
Dear Kerry Wheatley,
Could you explain what has led to your changing your mind? For three previous consecutive requests, you have been more than happy to provide data as requested:
In addition, you are now very much a minority in holding the view that release of vacancy data contributes to crime. For the last two years I have been pursuing refusals before the Information Commissioner. To date, I have received fifteen decisions in my favour:
FS50628943 vs Cornwall Council; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50628978 vs London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681246 vs London Borough of Camden; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681250 vs London Borough of Greenwich; citing Section 31(1)(a) and Section 38(1)(b);
FS50681266 vs Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames Borough; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681283 vs Westminster City Council who cited Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681292 vs London Borough of Wandsworth; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681297 vs Knowsley Metropolitan Borough; citing Section 31(1)(a), 40(2), and 41;
FS50681322 vs West Berkshire Council; citing Section 31(1)(d);
FS50681326 vs Vale of Glamorgan; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681332 vs Doncaster Metropolitan Borough; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50681336 vs Sheffield City Council; citing Section 31(1)(a), 31(1)(d), and 41;
FS50685343 vs London Borough of Ealing; citing Section 31(1)(a), 31(1)(d), and 31(2);
FS50685350 vs Liverpool City Council; citing Section 31(1)(a);
FS50685375 vs West Lancashire Borough Council; citing 31(1)(a);
In each of these decisions, the Commissioner either dismissed the application of the exemptions cited, or declared that “the public interest in the information being disclosed outweighs that in the exemption being maintained”.
92% of local authorities now publish commercial vacancy data. 65% publish these as regular updates to their authority websites or open data services.
Could you please publish the data as requested. Note, this is not a request for an internal review. Should you refuse to publish, I will simply refer this matter to the Information Commissioner for their decision.
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