Non Domestic Rates (Business Rates) Freedom of Information Requests

St Albans District Council receives a number of requests of a similar nature for information which relates to Business Rates/Council Tax accounts. To address these requests we are now publishing specific information on:

Name of DatasetPublication Date Comment      
NNDR Current Accounts in credit  04/06/2019 Published quarterly
NNDR Closed Accounts in credit04/06/2019 Published quarterly
NNDR Write ons04/06/2019 Published quarterly
List of all Business Rates accounts with no relief04/06/2019 Published quarterly
List of all Business Rates accounts with a relief04/06/2019 Published quarterly
New businesses liable for Business Rates-Jan to April1905/06/2019 Published quarterly
Council Tax write ons04/06/2019 Published quarterly
Council Tax accounts in credit04/06/2019 Published quarterly

Whilst an individual can make a request for similar information, we will generally refer individuals to this webpage.
Limitations on Data:
Ratepayers names and correspondence addresses are only provided for Limited Companies and Government Bodies and not for individuals (sole traders, partnerships…). Data Protection prevents the publication of individual names because they are personal data.
Account references are not included as these are personal to the account, and are used to ensure that a ratepayer is actually the account holder when they contact the Council.

Empty Properties:
Whilst we will consider any request for their information on its individual facts you may like to consider the following before applying for empty property details.
In accordance with the Tribunal case of Mr C P England and London Borough of Bexley v ICO[EA/2006/0060 &0066] and the more recent decision of the Tribunal in Yiannis Voyias v Information Commissioner and the London Borough of Camden (EA/2011/0007 23.1.13).
The Tribunal stated in the Voyias case that the exemption in Section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act applies to requests for full lists of empty properties.  Under this section, information is exempt from disclosure where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime and disorder.  We consider that placing information about unoccupied premises into the public domain would significantly increase the risk of theft, vandalism and criminal damage, unlawful occupation and other crimes to these properties.
The exemption under section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act is a qualified exemption so we must consider whether the public interest test.  In applying this test we have considered whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. 
Following the decision in Voyias, we have considered whether that the public interest in the prevention of crime and disorder outweighs the public interest in making the information available to the general public.  We have considered the question as to whether disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime.   We consider that there is a link between the likely prejudice, i.e. the crime at vacant properties and the disclosure of the history of empty properties to the general public.  We have applied the public interest test, and agree that the findings of the Tribunal are applicable here, so that we find the impact on the public sector private companies and individuals is sufficient to weigh the balance in favour of non-disclosure.
Accordingly we consider that the exemption and public interest mean that we do not need to release the information and we will therefore withhold the information details of empty properties.

Date of last review: 05 June 2019