April / March News

Business rates: delivering more frequent revaluations

March 27 2016

This discussion paper sets out the significant challenges in delivering more frequent revaluations under the current valuation system and explores possible alternatives that could enable a move to more frequent revaluations. No option is preferred at this stage and we encourage stakeholders to consider the merits and trade-offs that all options present

Link to Paper

 

The Communities and Local Government Committee on Business Rates

Business and financial organisations questioned on business rates

Communities and Local Government Committee questions financial institutes and business organisations on business rates.

Under the link below, you will see the concerns expressed by the committee chair on how the changes announced in the budget on Business Rates last week, may impact on Local Government:

Budget 2016: Committee Chair concerned about business rates proposals

Chair of Communities and Local Government Committee comments on Budget 2016.

The proceedings of the afternoon can be viewed on the Parliament Channel. In addition, a recording and transcript of the proceedings can be accessed though the above link.

Copies of Institute responses to all consultation documents, including that on Business Rates, can be found on the IRRV Web Site http://irrv.net/homenew/page.php?wid=20.

‘A Check List for Billing Authorities on Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rate’

18 March 2016

This annual webinar provides an update on the changes that have taken place (or about to take place) in Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rate which will affect liability from 1st April 2016. It takes the form of a check list for billing authorities. It also covers implications of the budget
This webinar will be delivered by Gary L Watson IRRV (Hons), Deputy Chief Executive IRRV.

Watch Webinar Now Watch

Institute’s strategic partnership with Q2 

14 March 2016

The Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation have entered into a strategic partnership with Q2 who are focused on improving performance and efficiency in Local Government and have helped over 70 Councils deliver significant savings during the last 17 years.

The partnership will see the two organisations assist authorities in understanding how their future resource requirements for ongoing Housing Benefit administration and Universal Credit implementation will vary over time and allow them to compare their progress with each other using Q2’s QPredict Resource Modelling Service.

QPredict is a tool which allows organisations to quickly determine what impact changes they are considering will make on staffing and other costs. It also allows organisations to compare different scenarios using task volumes, time taken and allocation of tasks to job roles and related costs across one or many locations. It will then show you how many staff you need to deliver that level of work taking into account matters such as sickness levels and holidays.

The partnership with the IRRV was signed at a launch event hosted at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Blythe Valley Innovation Centre.

Steve Taylor, Managing Director of Q2, said:

“We’re delighted to have formalised this partnership with the IRRV. The collaboration will see us providing support to authorities across the UK, allowing them to forecast their resource needs and benchmark their revenues and housing benefits services, regionally and nationally”

Chief Executive of the IRRV, David Magor, said

“We’re confident this new collaboration can play a major role in supporting Local Authorities to prepare and react to the welfare reform agenda and deliver best practice across the UK.”

The partnership has also seen Q2 and IRRV publish a joint white paper titled ‘Sustaining your Revenues and Benefits Services through Universal Credit and Beyond’.

Mark Homer, from the University Of Warwick Science Park said:

“This collaboration has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on the work of a vast number of Local Authorities and we were pleased to host the national launch.”

Reasonable Costs

9 March 2016

The judgement below has been shared with the Institute by East Northampton DC. For the record, costs of £10,000 were awarded against Mr Williams.

Judgement

 

Two companies ordered into liquidation for misleading small businesses over business rate ‘savings’

5 March 2016

Harrison Black Associates Ltd and Hayden Moss Associates Ltd were ordered into liquidation by the High Court on 1 March for misleading almost 100 small businesses into paying for services to challenge business rate valuations.

The winding-up of the two companies follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found the companies’ agents told prospective clients they were likely to be successful in obtaining a business rate revaluation of their premises.

The investigation found clients were required to pay an upfront fee ranging from £495 plus VAT to £2,500 plus VAT, and were promised that a professional survey of their premises would be undertaken to support the business rate valuation appeal.

Between May 2014 and June 2015, at least 91 businesses signed agreements with the companies. There was no evidence to show that Harrison and Hayden were ever successful in obtaining a positive business rate re-valuation for a client and few clients were ever visited by a surveyor acting for the companies.

In addition, the investigation found that there was a deliberate use of dishonest and misleading statements to prospective clients; that the companies had used false documentation to obtain payment from clients; that the companies failed to produce company documents to the investigators and failed to make adequate provision to meet ‘money back guarantees’ provided to clients totalling over £54,000.

Alex Deane, Investigation Supervisor, said:

These companies took advantage of businesses anxious to reduce costs, but simply made matters worse for them. The directors of such companies should be aware that the Insolvency Service will take firm action against companies, and directors, that mislead the public in this way.

From: The Insolvency Service

First published:4 March 2016


Scottish Council Tax reform recommendations launched

On 2nd March 2016 Scottish Ministers lodged in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre a document providing an overview of changes to Council Tax in Scotland.  This followed an announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that morning.   The plans would see the average band E household pay about £2 per week more, and the average household in the highest band about £10 a week more.  The First Minister said the move would raise £100m a year for education.  The council tax freeze will also end in 2017, with councils then able to increase the tax by up to 3% a year.  This would potentially allow local authorities to raise up to £70m to help fund local services across Scotland.  The 75% of Scottish households that live in bands A to D would be unaffected by the changes, which will be introduced if the SNP is re-elected in the Holyrood election on 5 May.

Download Document

 

 

IRRV Performance Awards 2016

18th October 2016 -Telford

The 2016 Performance Awards Scheme looks to build upon the successful schemes of recent years.

There are nine categories; three ‘Team’ and six ‘Excellence’. The on-going changes in the profession are reflected in the choice of categories, whilst the criteria for each category has been updated, to ensure organisations are fully aware of what the Awards Panel is looking for.

 

Information