FOI - Completion Notice

The request was refused by Flintshire County Council.

Dear Flintshire County Council,

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000.
In accordance with the provisions specified within the above Act I hereby request the following information.
Information Requested; -
• A copy of all Non Domestic Rates Completion Notices served in the borough since 01/01/2020 or list of addresses showing the same information.
The Act requires that a response be provided within a period of 20 working days from the date hereof.
This request for information falls within the parameters of the Act but if you require clarification on any of the points above or should you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

Richard roberts

Flintshire County Council

Dear Mr Roberts

Thank you for your recent request for information.

This request has been allocated reference number: F00019177.

The Contact Officer for Governance will respond to your request in line
with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We will respond to your request
as soon as possible and no later than 18/12/2020. In some cases, however,
we may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this occurs, we will advise
you of the likely timescale within which the response will be provided. We
will contact you as soon as possible should we need to clarify your
request.

Should you send any further correspondence about this request, please
include the reference number and either email it to [Flintshire County Council request email],
or post it to Freedom of Information, Flintshire County Council,
Information Governance, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire, CH7 6NB.

Kind regards

Contact Officer

FOI Contact Officer

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FOI Contact Officer  |  Swyddog Cyswllt Rhyddid Gwybodaeth
Governance  |  Llywodraethu
Flintshire County Council   |  Cyngor Sir y Fflint  

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Email   |  Ebost   |  [Flintshire County Council request email]  
http://www.flintshire.gov.uk   |  http://www.siryfflint.gov.uk  
http://www.twitter.com/flintshirecc   |  http://www.twitter.com/csyfflint
 

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The contents of this communication and any enclosed documents may be
subject to copyright protection. It has been sent to you for your
information and you may use it for any non-commercial research you may be
doing or undertaking. Its contents can also be used for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example, commercial publication or
publication on a website, requires the permission of this Council. If you
wish to re-use this information please contact us, letting us know how you
wish to re-use it and what the intended audience will be so that we can
consider your request. This information should be sent to: The Information
Governance Manager, Information Governance Team, Flintshire County
Council, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire CH7 6NB, or
[email address].

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request for
information, you can ask for an internal review within 2 months of the
date of this response. Where your complaint is a complex one it may not be
possible to deal with it within the above timescales. In such a situation
a progress report will be sent within the above timescales.

Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Council’s
Information Governance Manager at:

Information Governance Team, County Hall, Mold, CH7 6NA

Or by emailing [Flintshire County Council request email]

Please remember to quote your original request’s reference number.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at the following address:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a
complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.

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Gellir cynnwys y ddogfen gyfathrebu hon ac unrhyw ddogfennau amgaeêdig yn
amodol ar hawlfraint. Hyn anfonwyd atoch er gwybodaeth i chi a gallwch ei
ddefnyddio ar gyfer unrhyw ymchwil anfasnachol yr ydych yn ei wneud neu
ymgymryd â. Gellir hefyd defnyddio ei gynnwys at ddibenion adrodd
newyddion. Os oes angen i chi ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth mewn unrhyw fordd
arall, er enghraifft, cyhoeddi neu gyhoeddi masnachol ar wefan, mae angen
caniatâd gyn y Cyngor. Os hoffech ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth, cysylltwch â
ni, gan roi gwybod i ni sut rydych chi yn bwriadu ei ailddefnyddio a beth
fydd y gynulleidfa a fwriadwyd fel y gallwn ystyriwch eich cais. Dylid
anfon y wybodaeth hon at: Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Tîm
Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Neuadd Y Sir, Yr Wyddgrug, Sir Y Fflint, CH7 6NB,
neu drwy e-bostio [email address].

Os ydych yn anfodlon â’r modd y mae’r Cyngor wedi ymdrin eich cais am
wybodaeth, gallwch ofyn am adolygiad mewnol o fewn 2 fis o dyddiad yr
ymateb hwn. Lle mae’ch cwyn yn un cymhleth efallai na fydd yn bosib delio
ag ef o fewn yr amserlen uchod. Mewn sefyllfa o’r fath, bydd adroddiad
cynnydd yn cael ei anfon o fewn yr amserlen.

Dylech anfon cais am adolygiad mewnol i’r Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
y Cyngor:

Team Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Neuadd y Sir, Yr Wyddgrug, Sir Y Fflint, CH7
6NB

Neu drwy e-bostio [Flintshire County Council request email]

Cofiwch ddyfynnu rhif cyfeirnod eich cais gwreiddiol.

Mae gennych hawl hefyd i gwyno wrth y Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth. Gallwch
gysylltu â’r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth yn y cyfeiriad canlynol:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Fodd bynnag, dylech nodi nad yw’r Comisiynydd fel arfer yn ymchwilio i
gwyn nes ei fod wedi bod drwy ein proses adolygu fewnol.

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********************************************************************** We
welcome correspondence in Welsh and English and will respond to
correspondence in the same language. Use of either language will not lead
to a delay Opinions advice, conclusions and other information in this
message that do not relate to the official business of Flintshire County
Council shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it or on its
behalf, and consequently Flintshire County Council shall bear no
responsibility whatsoever in respect thereof. Croesawn ohebiaeth yn y
Gymraeg a’r Saesneg a byddwn yn ymateb i ohebiaeth yn yr un iaith. Ni fydd
defnyddio’r naill iaith na’r llall yn arwain at oedi. Deellir na fydd
unrhyw safbwyntiau, na chynghorion, na chasgliadau nac unrhyw wybodaeth
arall yn y neges hon, nad ydynt yn berthnasol i waith swyddogol Cyngor Sir
y Fflint, yn cael eu cynnig na'u cadarnhau ganddo nac ar ei ran, ac felly
ni fydd Cyngor Sir y Fflint yn derbyn unrhyw gyfrifoldeb am y rhannau
hynny o'r neges.
**********************************************************************

Flintshire County Council

Dear Mr Roberts,

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request dated 20th
November 2020, in which you ask for a copy of all non domestic rates
completion notices served in the county since 01/01/2020.

Your request has been considered and it has been decided that the
information you require is exempt under Sections 31 and 43 of the Freedom
of Information Act.  It is important to emphasise that any response given
under the Freedom of Information Act is to be taken as a response into the
public domain and not merely to the applicant. 

EXEMPTION

Section 43 Commercial interests

Your request is initially considered exempt from disclosure under Section
43 because financial details held on Business Rates accounts are
considered commercially sensitive and would not be disclosed to a third
party without an “Authority to Act” letter from the company or
organisation concerned.

In addition to such a letter of authorisation, it is expected that the
applicant would be in a position to provide details of the account that
they are seeking to enquire about in the form of an account number or copy
of a Business Rates document. This is no different to the way the Council
would usually handle its day to day business. Where the letter of
authorisation has not given specific authority for details of the company
or organisation’s financial transactions with the Council, (including
credits, debits, reliefs and exemption), to be provided, it is not
considered to be in the public interest to disclose such information to
third parties. 

Public Interest Arguments for Disclosure

•To encourage transparency in the Council’s decision making processes 

•It allows transparency of decisions on how public funds are spent 

Public Interest Arguments for Withholding Information 

•It is not in the public interest to potentially damage the commercial
interests of an organisation seeking to do business with the Council 

•The Council’s position in future procurement negotiations may be
jeopardised if this information is released 

•It would have a detrimental impact on companies / contractors ability
seeking to do business with the council should their liability, credits,
debits, reliefs or exemptions (i.e. financial transactions) are released
in the public domain

The Council is of the view that releasing information without the
appropriate “Authority to Act” letter could potentially be harmful to the
commercial interests of the businesses concerned and so it has been deemed
that the public interest in the non-disclosure of this information
outweighs the public interest in its release. This is a qualified
exemption.

EXEMPTION

Section 31 Prejudicial to law enforcement

The Council also holds the view that matters concerning Business Rates
accounts are between the account holder and the Council.  Disclosure of
account information into the public domain is prohibited by Section
31(1)(a) and (d) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as disclosure
could prejudice the prevention and detection of crime and the assessment
or collection of any tax or duty or any imposition of a similar nature. 

Whilst your own reasons for requesting the information are not in
question, the Council cannot be involved, however unwittingly, in any
practice that could potentially result in the possibility of fraudulent
claims being made for Business Rate reliefs, refunds or grants and it
asserts that the provision of the information you have requested could
make it much easier for the accurate issuance of reliefs, refunds or
grants to become targeted for that purpose.

The Council will further refer to Information Commissioner’s Office
decision FS50671834, Mr David Hunter v London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in
which the Commissioner advises that the application of section 31(1)(a)
was correctly applied when a request for such information on non domestic
rates accounts was declined.

In debating if the use of this exemption is applicable we have considered
the public interest test.

Public Interest Arguments for Disclosure

•To release the information would assist the general public interest in
openness.

•Releasing the information would help the public understand, the
Authority’s management of business rates credits 

Public Interest Arguments against withholding information 

•There is a strong public interest in avoiding the likely prejudice to the
prevention of crime. 

•The public interest in avoiding damage to the reputation of property
owners when seeking future credit; 

•The council needs to effectively carry out its functions with businesses,
and to rely on the utmost integrity and security.

•The risk of increased crime would likely occur if information relating to
empty properties is released to the wider public.

•Releasing information would likely increase the risk of illegal entry and
of illegal use if/when entered

The application of this exemption is also subject to a public interest
test.  The public interest is best served by not encouraging potential
acts of fraud and crime. This is a qualified exemption.

We will not be disclosing the information you request on this occasion in
light of the above reasons.

I hope this information is helpful to you but if you are dissatisfied with
any aspects of this response, please refer to the Council's FOI Complaints
Procedure below.

Yours sincerely

Lewis Hughes

Local Taxation 

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

Revenues Services | Gwasanaethau Refeniw 

Governance |  Llywodraethu

Flintshire County Council | Cyngor Sir y Fflint 

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

Tel | Ffôn | 01352 704848 

Email | Ebost | [email address

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

http://www.flintshire.gov.uk | http://www.siryfflint.gov.uk 

http://www.twitter.com/flintshirecc | http://www.twitter.com/csyfflint

Log and track your Council enquiries through ‘My Account’ - go to
www.flintshire.gov.uk/My-Account for more information and to register.  

Cofnodi a thracio eich ymholiadau i’r Cyngor drwy ‘Fy Nghyfrif’ - ymwelwch
â www.siryfflint.gov.uk/fy-nghyfrif am ragor o wybodaeth neu os hoffech
chi gofrestru.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request for
information, you can ask for an internal review within 2 months of the
date of this response. Where your complaint is a complex one it may not be
possible to deal with it within the above timescales. In such a situation
a progress report will be sent within the above timescales. 

Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Council’s
Information Governance Manager at:

Information Governance Team,

County Hall,

Mold,

CH7 6NA

Or by emailing [Flintshire County Council request email]

Please remember to quote your original request’s reference number.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at the following address:

Information Commissioner’s Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire,

SK9 5AF.

However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a
complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.

Os ydych yn anfodlon â’r modd y mae’r Cyngor wedi ymdrin eich cais am
wybodaeth, gallwch ofyn am adolygiad mewnol o fewn 2 fis o dyddiad yr
ymateb hwn. Lle mae’ch cwyn yn un cymhleth efallai na fydd yn bosib delio
ag ef o fewn yr amserlen uchod. Mewn sefyllfa o’r fath, bydd adroddiad
cynnydd yn cael ei anfon o fewn yr amserlen.

Dylech anfon cais am adolygiad mewnol i’r Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
y Cyngor:

Team Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth

Neuadd y Sir

Yr Wyddgrug

Sir Y Fflint

CH7 6NB

Neu drwy e-bostio [Flintshire County Council request email] 

Cofiwch ddyfynnu rhif cyfeirnod eich cais gwreiddiol.

Mae gennych hawl hefyd i gwyno wrth y Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth. Gallwch
gysylltu â’r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth yn y cyfeiriad canlynol:

Information Commissioner’s Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire,

SK9 5AF.

Fodd bynnag, dylech nodi nad yw’r Comisiynydd fel arfer yn ymchwilio i
gŵyn nes ei fod wedi bod drwy ein proses adolygu fewnol.

Copyright clause:

The contents of this communication and any enclosed documents may be
subject to copyright protection.  It has been sent to you for your
information and you may use it for any non-commercial research you may be
doing or undertaking.  Its contents can also be used for the purposes of
news reporting.  Any other re-use, for example, commercial publication or
publication on a website, requires the permission of this Council.  If you
wish to re-use this information please contact us, letting us know how you
wish to re-use it and what the intended audience will be so that we can
consider your request.  This information should be sent to:  The
Information Governance Manager, Information Governance Team, Flintshire
County Council, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire  CH7 6NB, or
[email address].

Gellir cynnwys y ddogfen gyfathrebu hon ac unrhyw ddogfennau amgaeêdig yn
amodol ar hawlfraint. Hyn anfonwyd atoch er gwybodaeth i chi a gallwch ei
ddefnyddio ar gyfer unrhyw ymchwil anfasnachol yr ydych yn ei wneud neu
ymgymryd â. Gellir hefyd defnyddio ei gynnwys at ddibenion adrodd
newyddion. Os oes angen i chi ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth mewn unrhyw fordd
arall, er enghraifft, cyhoeddi neu gyhoeddi masnachol ar wefan, mae angen
caniatâd gyn y Cyngor. Os hoffech ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth, cysylltwch â
ni, gan roi gwybod i ni sut rydych chi yn bwriadu ei ailddefnyddio a beth
fydd y gynulleidfa a fwriadwyd fel y gallwn ystyriwch eich cais. Dylid
anfon y wybodaeth hon at: Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Tîm
Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Neuadd Y Sir, Yr Wyddgrug, Sir Y Fflint, CH7 6NB,
neu drwy e-bostio [email address]

FOI Contact Officer

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

FOI Contact Officer  |  Swyddog Cyswllt Rhyddid Gwybodaeth
Governance  |  Llywodraethu
Flintshire County Council   |  Cyngor Sir y Fflint  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email   |  Ebost   |  [Flintshire County Council request email]  
http://www.flintshire.gov.uk   |  http://www.siryfflint.gov.uk  
http://www.twitter.com/flintshirecc   |  http://www.twitter.com/csyfflint
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The contents of this communication and any enclosed documents may be
subject to copyright protection. It has been sent to you for your
information and you may use it for any non-commercial research you may be
doing or undertaking. Its contents can also be used for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example, commercial publication or
publication on a website, requires the permission of this Council. If you
wish to re-use this information please contact us, letting us know how you
wish to re-use it and what the intended audience will be so that we can
consider your request. This information should be sent to: The Information
Governance Manager, Information Governance Team, Flintshire County
Council, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire CH7 6NB, or
[email address].

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request for
information, you can ask for an internal review within 2 months of the
date of this response. Where your complaint is a complex one it may not be
possible to deal with it within the above timescales. In such a situation
a progress report will be sent within the above timescales.

Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Council’s
Information Governance Manager at:

Information Governance Team, County Hall, Mold, CH7 6NA

Or by emailing [Flintshire County Council request email]

Please remember to quote your original request’s reference number.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at the following address:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a
complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.

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Gellir cynnwys y ddogfen gyfathrebu hon ac unrhyw ddogfennau amgaeêdig yn
amodol ar hawlfraint. Hyn anfonwyd atoch er gwybodaeth i chi a gallwch ei
ddefnyddio ar gyfer unrhyw ymchwil anfasnachol yr ydych yn ei wneud neu
ymgymryd â. Gellir hefyd defnyddio ei gynnwys at ddibenion adrodd
newyddion. Os oes angen i chi ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth mewn unrhyw fordd
arall, er enghraifft, cyhoeddi neu gyhoeddi masnachol ar wefan, mae angen
caniatâd gyn y Cyngor. Os hoffech ailddefnyddio’r wybodaeth, cysylltwch â
ni, gan roi gwybod i ni sut rydych chi yn bwriadu ei ailddefnyddio a beth
fydd y gynulleidfa a fwriadwyd fel y gallwn ystyriwch eich cais. Dylid
anfon y wybodaeth hon at: Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Tîm
Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Neuadd Y Sir, Yr Wyddgrug, Sir Y Fflint, CH7 6NB,
neu drwy e-bostio [email address].

Os ydych yn anfodlon â’r modd y mae’r Cyngor wedi ymdrin eich cais am
wybodaeth, gallwch ofyn am adolygiad mewnol o fewn 2 fis o dyddiad yr
ymateb hwn. Lle mae’ch cwyn yn un cymhleth efallai na fydd yn bosib delio
ag ef o fewn yr amserlen uchod. Mewn sefyllfa o’r fath, bydd adroddiad
cynnydd yn cael ei anfon o fewn yr amserlen.

Dylech anfon cais am adolygiad mewnol i’r Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
y Cyngor:

Team Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth, Neuadd y Sir, Yr Wyddgrug, Sir Y Fflint, CH7
6NB

Neu drwy e-bostio [Flintshire County Council request email]

Cofiwch ddyfynnu rhif cyfeirnod eich cais gwreiddiol.

Mae gennych hawl hefyd i gwyno wrth y Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth. Gallwch
gysylltu â’r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth yn y cyfeiriad canlynol:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Fodd bynnag, dylech nodi nad yw’r Comisiynydd fel arfer yn ymchwilio i
gwyn nes ei fod wedi bod drwy ein proses adolygu fewnol.

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********************************************************************** We
welcome correspondence in Welsh and English and will respond to
correspondence in the same language. Use of either language will not lead
to a delay Opinions advice, conclusions and other information in this
message that do not relate to the official business of Flintshire County
Council shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it or on its
behalf, and consequently Flintshire County Council shall bear no
responsibility whatsoever in respect thereof. Croesawn ohebiaeth yn y
Gymraeg a’r Saesneg a byddwn yn ymateb i ohebiaeth yn yr un iaith. Ni fydd
defnyddio’r naill iaith na’r llall yn arwain at oedi. Deellir na fydd
unrhyw safbwyntiau, na chynghorion, na chasgliadau nac unrhyw wybodaeth
arall yn y neges hon, nad ydynt yn berthnasol i waith swyddogol Cyngor Sir
y Fflint, yn cael eu cynnig na'u cadarnhau ganddo nac ar ei ran, ac felly
ni fydd Cyngor Sir y Fflint yn derbyn unrhyw gyfrifoldeb am y rhannau
hynny o'r neges.
**********************************************************************