Dear Richmondshire District Council,
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

I am looking to obtain a report, in excel format, of any business rates accounts, closed or open, in the name of Henkel Limited or in the names of their subsidiary companies, for the period 1 April 2005 to present: -

Acheson Industries
Darex UK Limited
Jeyes Group Limited
Henkel UK Operations Limited
National Adhesives Holding Ltd
Schwarzkopf Limited
Akzo Nobel
Shiseido Group.

The report should include the following: -

1. Account Name
2. Address of the Property
3. BA Reference Number
4. Liability Start Date
5. Liability End Date (if a closed account)
6. If a credit is showing on the account:-
a) Amount of credit
b) Account Number the credit relates to
c) Period the credit relates to
d) Reason for the credit.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Many thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

C Pleasants

Richmondshire District Council

Dear Sir/Madam

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information request 141729

I acknowledge your request for information received on 07/May/2019. Your
reference number is 141729.

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 you require the
information in alternative formats, e.g. a different language, audio
format, or in 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.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact
[1][email address]

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at
[2]ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Senior Information Manager

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/

Richmondshire District Council

Dear Sir/Madam

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information request 141729

Your request for information has been considered and I can confirm that
Richmondshire District Council hold the information requested. However, we
are withholding the information as we consider that the following
exemptions apply:

This information is exempt from disclosure under Section 31(1)(a) - Law
enforcement. Disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice
the prevention or detection of crime.

Section 31(1)(a) is a qualified exemption and therefore is subject to the
Public Interest Test. Section 31(1)(a) provides an exemption where
prejudice could be caused to allow potential fraudsters to use the
information to identify business entities which were entitled to claim
credits on their accounts. Once such a business had been identified, there
would be a number of avenues open to the fraudsters to seek to obtain
funds.

To use this exemption we are required to undertake a public interest test.
The matters which were considered in applying the public interest test are
as follows:

Factors in favour of disclosure

Withholding the information could be perceived as the council attempting
to retain monies that belong to the public.

It is in the public interest to be open and transparent about our use of
public funds.

It is also in the public interest to provide some transparency regarding
the records we hold in respect of the administration of business
rates/council tax. This could be of interest to the minority of people who
are due a refund, but have somehow failed to receive the notifications
that money is due to them.

Factors in favour of withholding

There is a public interest in ensuring that monies from the public purse,
such as rebates on business/council tax accounts, are not fraudulently
claimed and also a public interest in not making it easier for fraud to be
committed.

Our current verification procedure for refund claims is simple and cost
effective. Disclosure of the requested information would result in
additional verification processes needing to be implemented, at additional
cost to the public which appeared disproportionate to the benefits that
would accrue from disclosure. The additional verification procedures would
also be likely to slow the verification process, resulting in detriment to
the genuine ratepayer which would be contrary to the public interest.

In relation to any new verification processes that might be needed, these
would be likely to require the production of additional documents by those
claiming a rebate which would place a new administrative burden on the
majority of those legitimate claimants that did not currently exist. This
would be compounded by the fact that the level of scrutiny of those
documents would be higher than at present, given the increased suspicion
that some of the claims (and associated documents) might well be
fraudulent. The result would be that a new verification process would be
likely to slow the rate at which credit balance claims could be considered
and refunded, causing delay in all refunds and the likelihood of
complaints, which would further burden our limited resources.

Disclosure of the requested information would result in the need to
implement disproportionate steps, at additional expense to the public
purse, to counter an increased fraud risk that does not exist at present.

The cost consequences of a successful fraudulent claim would:

· have incurred the cost of paying out to the fraudster

· remain liable to the legitimate rate payer for an equivalent amount,
raising the prospect of paying out twice; and

· be faced with the cost (legal and incurrence of internal management
time) of seeking to recover the funds wrongly paid to the fraudster.

It would not be in the public interest to expose it to such potential
costs and expenses, given that they would be funded from the public purse.

It is considered that the greater public interest, therefore, lies in not
providing the information at this time. In coming to that conclusion, the
public interest in providing the information has been carefully weighed
against any prejudice to the public interest that might arise from
withholding the information; in all the circumstances of the case, the
public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest
in disclosing the information. This response, therefore, acts as a refusal
notice under section 17 of the FoIA.

Richmondshire District Council now considers that it has complied with
your request.  However, you have a right to appeal if you are dissatisfied
with our response.  Requests for an internal review must be made in
writing and within 40 calendar days of this response being issued to you.
When requesting an internal review, please include your reference number,
the date of your original request and your contact details. Please also
include an explanation of why you are dissatisfied with our response.
Requests for an internal review should be sent
to [1][email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. For more information, visit [2]ico.org.uk.

Yours sincerely

Senior Information Manager

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/