Part 6: appendix 2 - obtaining information about disabled persons
The Valuation Office Agency's (VOA) technical manual for the rating of business (non-domestic) property.
Letter to Accompany Form of Return
Under the VOA NDR Unit Letterhead:
Request for Information under Paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 9 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988
I write further to your request that the above named property should not be shown in the rating list on the basis that it is exempt from rating under paragraph 16 of Schedule 5 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988.
I am happy to consider your request subject to you providing the declarations detailed below.
The information requested will assist me in carrying out my functions and duties under Part III of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to compile and maintain rating lists. Please note that under the legislation false statements can give rise to criminal prosecution.
1. Under paragraph 16 of Schedule 5 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (“the LGFA”), property used for the disabled is exempt from non-domestic rating, so long as it is used wholly for any of the purposes identified in paragraph 16(1) of Schedule 5.
“A hereditament is exempt to the extent that it consists of property used wholly for any of the following purposes—
(a)the provision of facilities for training, or keeping suitably occupied, persons who are disabled or who are or have been suffering from illness;
(b)the provision of welfare services for disabled persons;
(c)the provision of facilities under section 15 of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944;
(d)the provision of a workshop or of other facilities under section 3(1) of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1958.”
2. The legislation requires that to be exempt, a property must be “wholly” used for an exempting purpose. Activities that are outside the scope of exemption or use by client groups other than those targeted by the legislation, being the ill or disabled, will mean that exemption will not apply.
3. However, if this is the case it may still be possible to exempt part of the property on the basis of that part being used wholly for an exempting purpose. If you think that only part of the property may qualify for exemption then please identify the part you wish to be considered by showing this on a plan or otherwise clearly identify the part involved.
4. Paragraph 16(2) of Schedule 5 sets out the following definition of “disabled”
“A person is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any description or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury, congenital deformity or any other disability for the time being prescribed for the purposes of section 29(1) of the National Assistance Act 1948”
5. For these purposes, a mental disorder means “any disorder or disability of the mind” (Section 1(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983 (“the MHA”)).
6. A person with a “learning disability” may have a “mental disorder”, but a person cannot be treated as having a “learning disability” unless he satisfies the meaning of “learning disability” set out in section 1(4) of the MHA, which states that “learning disability” “means a state of arrested or incomplete development of the mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning”.
The Required Statements:
Please complete the attached form. It includes two declarations. First, that the whole of the property, or the part otherwise identified, is used wholly for an exempt purpose in terms of its function and use.
The second declaration is that each of the current users of the property is disabled. Please make this declaration by completing the table in the attached form. If users have a mental disorder or a learning disability, please complete column 2 or 3 as appropriate for each user. For these categories of users, you must show that each has been diagnosed by a Medical Professional as either having a mental disorder or learning disability as defined by the legislation. The Valuation Officer is required to ascertain that each relevant user has a medically diagnosed condition and will require evidence of the name and/or position of the Medical Professional who has given that diagnosis. Simply ticking the column, or non completion, will not be sufficient to pass the test within the provisions. Self diagnosis, or diagnosis by a non-medical professional (for example, an educationalist), will not be sufficient in passing the statutory provision.
If the mental state of any of your users renders them “disabled”, please confirm that each of those users has been diagnosed by a medical professional as having a “mental disorder” within the meaning of section 1(2) of the MHA (see above). Please do this by completing column 2 in the table in the attached form, confirming that each relevant user, whose name should be anonymised, has been so diagnosed. You should provide the name and/or position and role (e.g. psychiatrist) of the medical professional who has diagnosed that user as having a “mental disorder” within the meaning of section 1(2) of the MHA
If your users’ learning disabilities render them “disabled”, please confirm that each of those users has consulted a medical professional who has diagnosed that the user has a “learning disability” within the meaning of section 1(4) of the MHA (see above). Please do this by completing column 3 in the table in the attached form, confirming that each relevant user, whose name should be anonymised, has been so diagnosed. You should provide the name and/or position and role (e.g. psychiatrist) of the medical professional who has diagnosed that user as having a “learning disability” within the meaning of section 1(4) of the MHA.
You should then sign and date the third declaration on the form and return it to me. If you prefer, you can provide this information in another format (you do not have to use the attached form). However, you must provide all the required information, and your reply must include a statement that the information is correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief which must be signed and dated by you.
I look forward to hearing further from you in due course.