Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data (Section 31)

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council,

In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, and subject to section 40(2) on excluding 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 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.

We recognise that you ordinarily refuse to release these data in terms of Regulation 31(1)(a). In November 2016, we appealed this class of refusal - specifically as it relates to this request - to the Information Commissioner’s Office and they issued a Decision Notice (FS50628943 - https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak..., and FS50628978 - https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...) on 28 February 2017 finding that “it is not correct to withhold this information under Regulation 31(1)(a)”, and that “the public interest in the information being disclosed outweighs that in the exemption being maintained”.

Note that these Decision Notices supersede Voyias v Information Commissioner and London Borough of Camden Council (EA/2011/0007) and Decision Notice FS50538789 (related to Stoke on Trent Council).

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'm sure you get many requests for business rates and we intend to update this national series every three months. Could we request that - as more than 30% of local authorities already do - you update and release this dataset via a dedicated page on your local authority website or on an open data service. You should find that this reduces the time and cost of this request process.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Chait

Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Dear Gavin

Freedom of Information Act 2000 request 4091

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 30^th March 2017

 

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being
exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

 

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require alternative formats, for example: language, audio or
large print, please let me know.

 

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.

 

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.

 

There may a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and
you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be
paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day
time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

 

The information that we provide in response to the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 requests is subject to copyright protection. The copyright is
owned by either the council or a third party. Simply because the
information is available under the legislation does not mean the council
or the third party has waived its copyright.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Information
Governance Officer at Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Hinckley Hub,
Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 0FR, telephone 01455 255745,
email [Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council request email]. Please quote the above
reference on any correspondence.

 

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner
at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane 

Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Telephone:   01625 545 700

www.informationcommissioner.org.uk

 

Kind regards

 

Faye Biddles

Information Governance Officer

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, LE10 0FR

Telephone: 01455 255745

Email: [1][email address]  

 

This email and any files sent with it are confidential.
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and then permanently delete it.
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in respect of this email.
 
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Save paper - only print this email if necessary.
Visit us online: www.hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk
Main office: Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leics LE10 0FR. Main
switchboard: 01455 238141

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Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Gavin

 

Re: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Our
ref: 4091.

 

Thank you for your request under the FOIA. Please find our response
attached.

 

You are free to use the information supplied for your own personal
purposes or non-commercial research, private study or news reporting.
However, by distributing, making copies or publishing the information
without the consent of the holder, which in most cases will be Hinckley &
Bosworth Borough Council, you may be infringing copyright.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may write
to: Julie Kenny, Director of Corporate Resources, Hinckley & Bosworth
Borough Council, Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10
0FR. Please quote your FOIA reference number on all correspondence and ask
that your request be reviewed under the terms of the council’s internal
appeals procedure.

 

Should you still be dissatisfied following an appeal you may write to the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a further review at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF. [1]www.informationcommissioner.org.uk

 

Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
appeals process provided by the council.

 

Kind regards

 

Faye Biddles

Information Governance Officer

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, LE10 0FR

Telephone: 01455 255745

Email: [2][email address]  

 

This email and any files sent with it are confidential.
If this email isn't intended for you, please notify the sender immediately
and then permanently delete it.
You must not read, print, store, disclose, copy or take any other action
in respect of this email.
 
We routinely monitor incoming and outgoing email messages to ensure they
comply with Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council's policy on the use of
electronic communications.
The contents of emails may have to be disclosed to a request under the
Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council.
Attachments to email messages may contain viruses that may damage your
system.
Whilst Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council has taken every reasonable
precaution to minimise this risk, we cannot accept any liability for any
damage you suffer as a result.
You are advised to carry out your own virus checks before opening any
attachment.
Save paper - only print this email if necessary.
Visit us online: www.hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk
Main office: Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leics LE10 0FR. Main
switchboard: 01455 238141

References

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2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Faye Biddles,

Thank you for you response, however the data supplied does not include all of that requested. Could you please also include the occupation status of each property?

If you are unable to provide an absolute “Occupation / Vacancy” status, please provide the Exemptions or Reliefs that a particular property may be receiving.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Chait

Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Dear Gavin

We are unable to provide an absolute “Occupation / Vacancy” status. We are not obliged, under section 40(2) of the Act, to provide information that is the personal information of another person if releasing would contravene any of the provisions in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). In this instance we believe that the release of this information would contravene the first data protection principle and therefore section 40 (2).
We also believe that releasing detailed information in this instance creates a security risk and is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime (section 31(1)(a))

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may write to: Julie Kenny, Director of Corporate Services, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 0FR. Please quote your FOIA reference number on all correspondence and ask that your request be reviewed under the council’s internal appeals procedure.

Should you remain dissatisfied following an appeal you may write to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a further review at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. www.informationcommissioner.or.uk

Kind regards

Faye Biddles
Information Governance Officer
Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, LE10 0FR
Telephone: 01455 255745
Email: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data (Section 31)'.

On 30 March 2017, I sent an FOI request in terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, and subject to section 40(2) on personal data, for 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 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)

My request has been refused in terms of Section 41.

According to the Information Commissioner's Office, "Section 41 applies to information that has been obtained from another person and whose disclosure to the public would constitute an actionable breach of confidence."

Please could you specify precisely which data you refuse to release, and under what terms you consider this to be in confidence (i.e. in what way are you bound by the non-commercial ratepayer to hold these data in confidence).

From my perspective, none of these data can be considered to be in confidence:

- Billing Authority Reference Code: already public, used by the Valuations Office to permit cross-referencing of their data to that of local authorities; it is already published in public;
- Firm’s Trading Name: already published via Companies House for all registered companies, and often published in advertising materials by businesses themselves;
- Full property address: already published by numerous agencies, including the VOA;
- State of Occupation: visible to anyone walking past the property, and collected manually by commercial services like Local Data Company; this is also advertised when properties are placed on the market (i.e. no tenant is affected if there is no tenant), or when existing tenants advertise their services;
- Date of Occupation / Vacancy: as with state of occupation;
- Actual annual rates charged: commercial data relevant to the operation of the local authority, and critical to understanding local authority revenue collection;

Simply be way of illustration, here are several links where entire business databases are publicly presented (i.e. openly accessible) which contain details of commercial business data, including addresses, names of tenants and from where dates of occupation are presented, or may be derived based on the date of such data being added or updated into these databases:

- Valuations Office Authority publishes a regularly-updated schedule of all ratepayers and valuations at https://voaratinglists.blob.core.windows... including addresses and billing-authority reference numbers. This also includes a data schedule which - while not complete - contains a significant proportion of names of ratepayers and dates of occupation;
- Yelp.com has an API for their database of businesses permitting complete access and interrogation of their comprehensive database of business information, available at https://www.yelp.com/developers;
- Companies House provides developer tools and search facilities on all company information in the UK, including address, company activity, and financial disclosure, https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about...
- And there are numerous other companies, such as Yell.com, 118118.com and so on which all provide aggregated data on businesses;

You do not state in your rejection what data in my request you regard as ‘in confidence’, and it is unclear how you have arrived at this conclusion.

The combination of these data permit us to reconcile your individual authority data with that of the Valuations Office and so create a single, unified database of commercial property vacancy across England and Wales, as well as the actual revenue raised from these commercial properties.

I should also note that, of the 349 local authorities in England and Wales, over 75% of these either already make these data available, or have done so in response to FOI requests from ourselves. Of those who have refused, only a handful have ever claimed that the data were collected ‘in confidence’.

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

Faye Biddles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Chait

 

Your request has been reviewed, please find attached our response.

 

Kind regards

 

Faye Biddles

Information Governance Officer

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, LE10 0FR

Telephone: 01455 255745

Email: [1][email address]  

 

This email and any files sent with it are confidential.
If this email isn't intended for you, please notify the sender immediately
and then permanently delete it.
You must not read, print, store, disclose, copy or take any other action
in respect of this email.
 
We routinely monitor incoming and outgoing email messages to ensure they
comply with Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council's policy on the use of
electronic communications.
The contents of emails may have to be disclosed to a request under the
Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council.
Attachments to email messages may contain viruses that may damage your
system.
Whilst Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council has taken every reasonable
precaution to minimise this risk, we cannot accept any liability for any
damage you suffer as a result.
You are advised to carry out your own virus checks before opening any
attachment.
Save paper - only print this email if necessary.
Visit us online: www.hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk
Main office: Hinckley Hub, Rugby Road, Hinckley, Leics LE10 0FR. Main
switchboard: 01455 238141

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]