Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data

Gavin Chait made this Freedom of Information request to South Kesteven District Council as part of a batch sent to 17 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear South Kesteven 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 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 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 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 I intend to update this national series every three months. Could I request that - as more than 51% 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. I can recommend approaches for you to consider, and you should find that this reduces the time and cost of this request process.

Thank you and kind regards

Gavin Chait

Customer Services, South Kesteven District Council

Dear Mr Chait

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request

Reference No: 1071917

I acknowledge your request for information received into the Legal & Democratic Services on 13/07/2017.

Your request for information has been placed before:-

Executive Manager

Richard Wyles

Corporate Finance Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

Business Manager(s)

Jeanette Strutt

Revenues Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

If the information is held by the Council, you will receive the information requested within the statutory time scale of 20 working days (10/08/2017), subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

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.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large print, etc. then please let us know.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact us at:

South Kesteven District Council

Council Offices

St. Peter's Hill

Grantham

Lincolnshire

NG31 6PZ

Telephone: 01476 406080

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Fax: 01625 524510

Website: www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Business Manager(s)

Jeanette Strutt

Revenues Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

*CM+DINACK+C47930*

The information contained in this e-mail along with any attachments may be confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. It is intended for the named individual(s) or entity who is/are the only authorised recipient(s). If this message has reached you in error please notify the sender immediately and delete it without review.

Email is not secure and may contain viruses. We make every effort to ensure email is sent without viruses, but cannot guarantee this and recommends recipients take appropriate precautions. We may monitor email traffic data and content in accordance with our policies and English law.

Customer Services, South Kesteven District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Chait

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request

Reference No: 1071917

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which we received on 13 July 2017. Our limited response is attached.

You requested the provision of information relating to the occupied/vacant status of each property and, after due consideration, we have decided not to release this information.

Pursuant to section 31(1)(a) of the Act, public authorities are not obliged to release information that could prejudice the functions of law enforcement. It is our view that releasing this information could make the properties a target of crime. Section 31 is a qualified exemption and we are obliged to consider the public interest test.

There are general arguments in favour of disclosure, in relation to promoting transparency and accountability of public authorities, which we have noted in relation to this information. There are also benefits in disclosure to the wider public, in relation to raising the profile of unused or vacant properties in order to encourage public debate.

There are factors in favour of maintaining the s 31(1)(a) exemption. These include: -

1. a strong public interest in preventing crime which would involve significant public expense
2. a strong public interest in ensuring public resources are used cost-effectively
3. a strong public interest in avoiding damage to property
4. The indirect consequences of crime, for example the impact on neighbouring properties of crimes perpetrated on the empty properties

On balance, we consider the public interest in preventing crime from being committed to outweigh the public interest in releasing the information.

You requested the provision of information relating to the amount each ratepayer is charged and, after due consideration, we have decided not to release this information.

Under S43(2) of the Act, we can refuse to disclose information if the information is likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person (a person may be an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity). We take the view that to disclose this information may prejudice the commercial interests of the persons in question.

We have considered whether the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. We consider it would not be in the public interest to disclose this information as it could be used by others in a particular market to gain a competitive advantage that could be of greater detriment to the wider public.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me. Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Fax: 01625 524510

Website: www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Adrian

Adrian Johnson Tech IRRV

Revenues Recovery Team Co-ordinator

South Kesteven District Council

Council Offices, St. Peters Hill

Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6PZ

•: 01476 406080 (Ext 1088)

E : [email address]<mailto:[email address]>

www.southkesteven.gov.uk<http://www.southkesteven.gov.uk/>

The information contained in this e-mail along with any attachments may be confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. It is intended for the named individual(s) or entity who is/are the only authorised recipient(s). If this message has reached you in error please notify the sender immediately and delete it without review.

Email is not secure and may contain viruses. We make every effort to ensure email is sent without viruses, but cannot guarantee this and recommends recipients take appropriate precautions. We may monitor email traffic data and content in accordance with our policies and English law.

Dear Customer Services,

I'm afraid your refusal under Section 31(1)(a) is completely unacceptable. Not only have you on three previous occasions provided the requested data without incident (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/sout...) but you are also refusing to comply with an ICO ruling on exactly this matter.

In November 2016, I 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”.

Please could you save us both a great deal of time and effort and provide the data as requested, and as you have done in the past, or I shall refer this to ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Chait

Customer Services, South Kesteven District Council

Dear Mr Chait

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request

Reference No: 1088204

I acknowledge your request for information received into the Legal & Democratic Services on 14/08/2017.

Your request for information has been placed before:-

Executive Manager

Richard Wyles

Corporate Finance Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

Business Manager(s)

Jeanette Strutt

Revenues Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

If the information is held by the Council, you will receive the information requested within the statutory time scale of 20 working days (12/09/2017), subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

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.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large print, etc. then please let us know.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact us at:

South Kesteven District Council

Council Offices

St. Peter's Hill

Grantham

Lincolnshire

NG31 6PZ

Telephone: 01476 406080

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Fax: 01625 524510

Website: www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Business Manager(s)

Jeanette Strutt

Revenues Manager

01476 406080

[email address]

*CM+DINACK+C47930*

The information contained in this e-mail along with any attachments may be confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. It is intended for the named individual(s) or entity who is/are the only authorised recipient(s). If this message has reached you in error please notify the sender immediately and delete it without review.

Email is not secure and may contain viruses. We make every effort to ensure email is sent without viruses, but cannot guarantee this and recommends recipients take appropriate precautions. We may monitor email traffic data and content in accordance with our policies and English law.

Customer Services, South Kesteven District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Chait

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) - Information Request

I refer to your request that we review our previous decision not to release certain information.

We have now reviewed our initial decision in light of the decision in the Cornwall Council case dated 28 February 2017.

It is clear from the Cornwall case (at paragraph 38) that we were correct to apply the exemption provided by Section 31(1)(a) of the Act when withholding the occupied/unoccupied status of the properties in question. It was however the ICs view, when considering the public interest test, that this information should be released where it relates to a corporate entity.

In light of this I attach an updated report which contains the requested information where the unoccupied property does not relate to an individual.

The Cornwall case is silent with regard to our decision not to release the information relating to the amount of rates payable and it remains our view that this information is exempt under s43(2) of the Act.

Yours sincerely

Adrian

Adrian Johnson Tech IRRV

Revenues Recovery Team Co-ordinator

South Kesteven District Council

Council Offices, St. Peters Hill

Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6PZ

•: 01476 406080 (Ext 1088)

E : [email address]<mailto:[email address]>

www.southkesteven.gov.uk<http://www.southkesteven.gov.uk/>

The information contained in this e-mail along with any attachments may be confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. It is intended for the named individual(s) or entity who is/are the only authorised recipient(s). If this message has reached you in error please notify the sender immediately and delete it without review.

Email is not secure and may contain viruses. We make every effort to ensure email is sent without viruses, but cannot guarantee this and recommends recipients take appropriate precautions. We may monitor email traffic data and content in accordance with our policies and English law.