Select Committee on Treasury First Report


Memorandum from National Association of Valuation Tribunals


  The tenth report published by the Treasury Committee on the workings of the Valuation Office Agency is noted. Indirect reference is made in the report to the workings of the Valuation Tribunal Service within the appeals procedure section of the report. The National Assocation of Valuation Tribunals therefore wishes to make the following comments:

  Paragraph 43 of the report refers to the regional variations of success rates at Valuation hearings. Tribunals can only determine appeals on the basis of evidence presented and a weak or strong case presented by a party obviously affects the decision of the Tribunal. Tribunals have found that late negotations between the Valuation Officer and the agents leave little time for the preparation of a case. It seems to us that pressure on Valuation Officers therefore affects decisions of Valuation Tribunals and that initial cost saving by the Valuation Office may well prove more expensive as cases may then need to run on to the Lands Tribunal. Valuation is an art and not an exact science and well prepared and documented cases will obviously achieve higher success rates than a hurriedly put together case.

  A suggestion is made in Paragraph 48 of the report that consideration be given to making the Appellant pay a proportion of the Valuation Officer's costs if that Appellant loses or vice versa at the discretion of the Valuation Tribunal. This move would be regarded with concern. The Valuation Officer imposes an assessment on a Ratepayer; that valuation is to some extent a matter of opinion; Ratepayers must therefore have a free right, within reason, to challenge that assessment. The move to a more open system with the Valuation Officer providing a breakdown of the valuation would, in our opinion, help to reduce the number of frivolous appeals.

  Paragraph 46 recommends that the Valuation Office Agency should clear all appeals made against the original 1995 Rating List (as distinct from maintenance cases) or any prior list before the new 2000 Rating List is introduced in order to improve the quality of the new Rating List. Proposals made in February/March 2000 only reach Tribunals in April/May and therefore can only be dealt with within the first six months of the new List. Again in Paragraph 48 mention is made of the DETR proposals to improve the timeliness of appeals. Once an appeal reaches the Tribunal it is the President's responsibility to arrange the listing of that appeal. The DETR following consultation are to introduce a practice note setting out the procedure for the settlement of appeals against the 2000 List assessments. Time is now short and the practice note is still awaited.

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