Part 2: appendix 1 - code of practice - public houses
The Valuation Office Agency's (VOA) technical manual for the rating of business (non-domestic) property.
Information required to be supplied to Valuation Officers
Notice requesting supply of Information - Non-Domestic Rating
Brewers And Licensed Retailers Association
This Code of Practice, which is being issued as an indication of the general policy of the Valuation Office Agency, supersedes any earlier Code of Practice and relates to specified information supplied to the Valuation Officer following a notice served under paragraph 5 of Schedule 9 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended by paragraph 46 of Schedule 5 to the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Such information will have been requested by the Valuation Officer in the belief that it will assist him/her in carrying out functions conferred or imposed by or under Part III of the 1988 Act (concerning non-domestic rating), including the compilation of a new rating List, or the maintenance of the rating List now in force.
The Valuation Office acknowledges the wish of the members of the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association to preserve what they consider to be the confidential nature of trade information supplied to Valuation Officers in compliance with notices served upon them in accordance with the foregoing paragraph.
The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association, together with its agents, acknowledges that this Code of Practice is being issued entirely without prejudice to any requirement to disclose the trade information referred to above by law, and to each Valuation Officer’s statutory duty. The Valuation Officer reserves the right to examine each case on its individual merits.
The information supplied in compliance with such notices will not be disclosed to other Government Departments, without prejudice to any statutory or other legal requirements to the contrary. Whilst any information supplied to the Valuation Office will not as a matter of general practice be supplied to other branches of the Inland Revenue no formal restriction can be placed on the use within the Inland Revenue of the returns or the information contained in them.
The following will be the general practice adopted by Valuation Officers and their staff in dealing with rating cases concerning public houses owned or occupied by members of the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association:-
- Trade information supplied in respect of a hereditament will not be disclosed to any person without the written consent of the person supplying the information, or the person/body on whose behalf the information was supplied, except in the following circumstances:-
a. Where a proposal has been made the Valuation Officer may, in the course of negotiation, disclose trade information to the parties to an appeal in respect of that hereditament, except that where the owner, or the owner’s agent, is acting independently of the occupier, information supplied by the occupier shall not be divulged other than in accordance with 1(c)-1(e) below.
b. In order to deal with the assertions made by any party in negotiations or prior to the hearing of an appeal in relation to the rating assessment of any similar hereditament, the Valuation Officer shall, wherever possible, endeavour to give details of analyses etc which have regard to trade information in such a manner that the trade of a specific hereditament or of any individual cannot be identified.
If it becomes essential for the Valuation Officer to refer to the actual trade of a hereditament, that information (or any other information supplied) will be disclosed in confidence only to the parties to an appeal or their professional advisers;
c. If an appeal cannot be settled by agreement, and it is listed for hearing by the Valuation Tribunal, where the Valuation Officer considers it necessary to refer to trade information of comparable hereditaments in support of the assessment under appeal he will serve notice in accordance with Regulation 41(3) of The Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 (Statutory Instrument 1993 No 291).
Valuation Officers undertake to use this procedure judiciously and to limit the number of hereditaments to which the Notice relates to those reasonably required to support the level of assessment of the appeal hereditament;
d. When any person to whom notice has been given in accordance with 1(c) above serves notice on the Valuation Officer in accordance with Regulation 41(4), the Valuation Officer will generally comply provided that he/she intends to support the valuation of the appeal hereditament by reference to trade information and further that he/she is satisfied that the hereditament specified in such notice is comparable in character or otherwise relevant to the appeal hereditament or that the trade information of the hereditament specified in the notice is directly related to the rating assessment of the appeal hereditament.
The Valuation Officer may refuse to comply with such notice if he/she is not satisfied that the hereditament is comparable in character or otherwise relevant to the case of the person who served such notice, or to the appeal hereditament, and the Valuation Officer will not divulge trade information where the assessment of the appeal property falls to be determined solely by reference to rents or costs;
e. If the person who serves notice under paragraph 1(d) above applies to the Valuation Tribunal or arbitrator under Regulation 41(7) where the Valuation Officer has refused or failed to comply with the Notice or part of it, he/she may defend his/her decision. If the Tribunal or arbitrator is satisfied that it is reasonable to do so, it or he/she may direct the Valuation Officer to comply with the notice in all or part and in such circumstances the Valuation Officer will, of course, comply subject to any possible appeal.
The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association will recommend to members that, prior to any hearing by the Valuation Tribunal or Lands Tribunal, they, and their professional advisers, should co-operate with Valuation Officers in the agreement of facts relating to the appeal hereditament, and (so far as they are able) of facts relating to any comparable hereditament to which either side proposes to refer.
The Valuation Officer will not object to a request from any other party under Regulation 40(3) of the aforementioned Regulations to the Valuation Tribunal for the case to be heard in camera where trade information is to be disclosed, (but such an arrangement cannot prevail in the event of an appeal to the Lands Tribunal and beyond).
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Lands Tribunal or a superior Court make an order for discovery under Rule 40 of the Lands Tribunal Rules, the Valuation Officer will be bound to comply.