Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Kirklees Borough Council.

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, 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 Code
- 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)

I appreciate that properties owned / rented by individuals are personal information and such personal data (i.e. the Firm's Trading Name) would be excluded from my request in terms of Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In such cases, please provide the remaining information with the Firm's Trading Name either blank or listed as 'individual'.

Please provide this as machine-readable as either a CSV or Microsoft Excel file, capable of re-use, and under terms of the Open Government Licence.

I am compiling a comprehensive time-series database of business activity across the UK and will require the dataset updated on a quarterly basis. Some 20% of local authorities already provide this dataset (and a total of 30% of local authorities provide a subset of these data) on a monthly to quarterly basis on a dedicated page on their websites or on an open data service. I would appreciate it if you could do the same.

Thank you and kind regards

Gavin Chait

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Chait

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Chait

 

I am writing in reply to your recent request for information made under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You asked for details of:

 

“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 Code

- 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)

I appreciate that properties owned / rented by individuals are personal
information and such personal data (i.e. the Firm's Trading Name) would be
excluded from my request in terms of Section 40(2) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. In such cases, please provide the remaining
information with the Firm's Trading Name either blank or listed as
'individual'. Please provide this as machine-readable as either a CSV or
Microsoft Excel file, capable of re-use, and under terms of the Open
Government Licence. I am compiling a comprehensive time-series database of
business activity across the UK and will require the dataset updated on a
quarterly basis. Some 20% of local authorities already provide this
dataset (and a total of 30% of local authorities provide a subset of these
data) on a monthly to quarterly basis on a dedicated page on their
websites or on an open data service. I would appreciate it if you could do
the same.”

 

I have considered your request under the Act and can provide some of the
information you have requested. Please find attached a spreadsheet which
details:

 

·         List of business properties where the occupier is not a natural
person

·         Name of liable party

·         Start date of account

 

Whilst the Council does hold the rest of the information requested, I
consider it to be exempt from disclosure for the following reasons:

 

Section 21 of the Act provides that:

 

(1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise
than under section 1 is exempt information.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a) information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though
it is accessible only on payment, and

(b) information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the
applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other
person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than
by making the information available for inspection) to members of the
public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held by a
public authority and does not fall within subsection (2)(b) is not to be
regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the
information is available from the public authority itself on request,
unless the information is made available in accordance with the
authority’s publication scheme and any payment required is specified in,
or determined in accordance with, the scheme.

 

The Council notes that a full list of commercial properties along with
information regarding the rateable values, billing authority reference
numbers and descriptions of commercial properties can be found on the VOA
website:

 

[1]http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/

 

The annual rates charged can also be found by using the rateable value and
the correct multiplier, which can be found here:

 

[2]http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/static/He...

 

You may also find this website useful:

 

[3]https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-busine...

 

This part of the request is therefore refused.

 

Section 40 of the Act provides that:

 

(1) Any information to which a request for information relates is exempt
information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the
data subject.

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if—

(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and

(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

(3) The first condition is—

(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act
1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene—

(i) any of the data protection principles, or

(ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause
damage or distress), and

(b) in any other case, that the disclosure of the information to a member
of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene any of the
data protection principles if the exemptions in section 33A(1) of the Data
Protection Act 1998 (which relate to manual data held by public
authorities) were disregarded.

(4) The second condition is that by virtue of any provision of Part IV of
the Data Protection Act 1998 the information is exempt from section
7(1)(c) of that Act (data subject’s right of access to personal data).

(5) The duty to confirm or deny—

(a) does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held
by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of
subsection (1), and

(b) does not arise in relation to other information if or to the extent
that either—

(i) the giving to a member of the public of the confirmation or denial
that would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart
from this Act) contravene any of the data protection principles or section
10 of the Data Protection Act 1998 or would do so if the exemptions in
section 33A(1) of that Act were disregarded, or

(ii) by virtue of any provision of Part IV of the Data Protection Act 1998
the information is exempt from section 7(1)(a) of that Act (data subject’s
right to be informed whether personal data being processed).

(6) In determining for the purposes of this section whether anything done
before 24th October 2007 would contravene any of the data protection
principles, the exemptions in Part III of Schedule 8 to the Data
Protection Act 1998 shall be disregarded.

(7) In this section—

“the data protection principles” means the principles set out in Part I of
Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998, as read subject to Part II of
that Schedule and section 27(1) of that Act;

“data subject” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that Act;

“personal data” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that Act.

 

In decision notice FS 50072180 the Information Commissioner found that the
tax liabilities of natural persons constituted personal data as their tax
liabilities and personal affairs could not be separated. Therefore any
details of the liabilities of natural persons are exempt from disclosure
as coupled with information already in the public domain, this would be
likely result in tax liabilities being deduced.

 

Section 31 of the Act provides that:

 

(1) 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,

(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,

(c) the administration of justice,

(d) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition
of a similar nature,

(e) the operation of the immigration controls,

(f) the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or in other
institutions where persons are lawfully detained,

(g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the
purposes specified in subsection (2),

(h) any civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of a public
authority and arise out of an investigation conducted, for any of the
purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by
virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or
under an enactment, or

(i) any inquiry held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiries
(Scotland) Act 1976 to the extent that the inquiry arises out of an
investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection
(2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty’s
prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment.

(2) The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are—

(a) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply
with the law,

(b) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any
conduct which is improper,

(c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify
regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise,

(d) the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in
relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any
profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised
to carry on,

(e) the purpose of ascertaining the cause of an accident,

(f) the purpose of protecting charities against misconduct or
mismanagement (whether by trustees or other persons) in their
administration,

(g) the purpose of protecting the property of charities from loss or
misapplication,

(h) the purpose of recovering the property of charities,

(i) the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at
work, and

(j) the purpose of protecting persons other than persons at work against
risk to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the actions
of persons at work.

(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice
any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).

 

Whilst the Council makes no inference as to why the information has been
requested it believes that to release details of empty commercial
properties into the public domain would prejudice the prevention of crime.
This is because the empty properties would then be more likely to be
targets for criminal and anti-social behaviour such as:

·         Squatting

·         Stripping, where metals are removed from the properties and sold
as scrap

·         Vandalism

 

Any exemption made under Section 31 of the Act is subject to a public
interest test. Whilst the Council is mindful that there is an interest in
empty properties being identified so their owners can be contacted and
those properties brought back into use, it believes that this is
outweighed by the negative effects anti-social behaviour and criminal acts
can cause. The Council has considered Information Commissioner’s decision
FS50559176 when reaching this decision.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
Civic Centre I, PO Box 1274, Huddersfield HD1 2WZ.  Alternatively, you can
send an email to: [4][email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at [5]www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Data
Protection)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/
2. http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/static/He...
3. https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-busine...
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Kirklees Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data'.

On 11 February 2016, I sent an FOI request for a complete and up-to-date list of all business (non-residential) property rates data, and including the following fields:

- Billing Authority Code
- 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)

My request has been refused in terms of Section 31 and 40.

According to the Information Commissioners Office, "Section 31 is a prejudice based exemption and is subject to the public interest test. This means that not only does the information have to prejudice one of the purposes listed, but, before the information can be withheld, the public interest in preventing that prejudice must outweigh the public interest in disclosure." Section 31(a) deals specifically with "the prevention or detection of crime".

Refusal under Section 40 is moot, since - in my original request I acknowledged its primacy with the following statement: "I appreciate that properties owned / rented by individuals are personal information and such personal data (i.e. the Firm's Trading Name) would be excluded from my request in terms of Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000"

The Valuations Office does not have data on property occupancy and this can only be provided by local authorities.

The purpose of our use of the data requested is in informing entrepreneurs and business seekers about opportunities in empty premises when they are advertised for new tenants. We combine local authority premises occupation data with other data (from the Valuations Office and ONS) to develop forward guidance on business potential in each empty business property. Further details on our activities are available at http://pikhaya.com, but our activity is supported by the Open Data Institute and we have received funding from the EU Open Data Incubator to develop this service.

Our combined data are made available via online commercial property leasing intermediaries as a free service to business seekers. These leasing intermediaries combine our data with properties being offered for rent.

In other words, these are properties being clearly advertised as empty whether the local authority data are publicly available or not.

I should also note that, of the 350 local authorities in England and Wales, over 100 of these either already make these data available, or have done so in response to FOI requests from ourselves.

We are mindful, though, that not all authorities wish to release direct information on empty premises. In that case, could we suggest that you provide only a list of occupied properties which we would then reconcile against the master list of properties from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA). VOA data are available via their website, and the complete database by subscription. Empty premises will be known to residents of the community in which they are based.That means that anyone not resident in your community and wanting to find the list of empty properties would have to undertake the costs and technicalities of a similar data reconciliation.

I would ask that you consider that the public interest in economic development and improving opportunities for independent businesses and entrepreneurs far outweighs any concern that the release of data which can identify empty business properties may cause crime.

Unemployment and economic deprivation are often key to reducing the potential for crime. Our intention is to support local economic development initiatives through the use of these data.

I ask that you reconsider your decision and make this data available to us under terms which permit our use thereof.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Chait

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Chait

I confirm receipt of your email below and have passed this onto the Monitoring Officer.

Her office will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Monitoring Officer, Kirklees Borough Council

 

Dear Mr Chait

 

Freedom of Information/Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Request for Review

 

I refer to your email dated 10 March 2016 addressed to the Freedom of
Information Team.

The Council aims to process requests for any review of the handling of
Freedom of Information and we will endeavour to provide this within 20
working days and certainly before the 40 working day deadline.  Ms
Muscroft will write to you when the review has been completed.  If you
wish to provide any further information to assist Ms Muscroft with her
conduct of the review you are welcome to do so. 

 

The Information Commissioner's website at www.ico.org.uk sets out detailed
information about his role, the operation of the Freedom of Information
Act and includes the Commissioner's detailed guidance.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Coldwell

Secretary to the Monitoring Officer

 

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do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

Helen Coldwell, Kirklees Borough Council

 

Dear Mr Chait

 

Freedom of Information/Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Request for Review

 

I refer to your email dated 10 March 2016, addressed to the Freedom of
Information team.

 

The Council aims to process requests for any review of the handling of
Freedom of Information and we will endeavour to provide this within 20
working days and certainly before the 40 working day deadline.  Ms
Muscroft will write to you when the review has been completed.  If you
wish to provide any further information to assist Ms Muscroft with her
conduct of the review you are welcome to do so. 

 

The Information Commissioner's website at [1]www.ico.org.uk sets out
detailed information about his role, the operation of the Freedom of
Information Act and includes the Commissioner's detailed guidance.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Julie Muscroft

Monitoring Officer

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

3^rd Floor North

Civic Centre I

Huddersfield  HD1 2NF

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

John Chapman, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Chait

 

I am conducting a review of the Council’s response to your above numbered
request for information under  the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am
awaiting some additional  information from the relevant section of the
council and hope to be able to provide you with a substantive response to
your review request by 8^th April 2016.

 

Yours sincerely

 

John Chapman

Interim Deputy head of Legal services

Kirklees Council

01484 221 000

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John Chapman, Kirklees Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Chait

 

Please see the attached letter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

John Chapman

Interim deputy head of Legal Services

Kirklees Council

01484 221 000

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This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.