The Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS) is a data controller under the data protection legislation. It is a public, non-departmental body that comes under the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and receives its funding from Parliament.
This notice tells you about your rights and what to expect when the VTS collects and processes personal information.
What is personal data?
Personal data is information about a living individual that can be used to identify them such as a name, address, date of birth or email address.
It may also include special categories of personal data such as information concerning an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, Trade Union membership, genetic or biometric data, health data, or data concerning their sex life or sexual orientation.
What do we mean by processing?
When we refer to processing, we mean any activity the VTS performs on or with your personal data such as collection, storage, destruction, or other use. This includes, but is not limited to, taking notes during tribunal hearings, drafting and publishing decisions.
Legal basis for processing
Under the data protection legislation, we can only process personal data if we do so for one of six reasons. The reason we process personal data, as set out below, is either that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or because we have official authority to do this (Article 6(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation) or because we have a legal obligation to do so (Article 6(c)).
Sharing your personal data
Tribunal proceedings are, except in exceptional circumstances approved by the Valuation Tribunal for England, required to be held in public. This is an aspect of the constitutional right to open justice.
There is generally therefore no expectation of privacy in personal data which is processed by the Tribunal exercising judicial functions.
Publication of your personal data
Personal data processed by the tribunal exercising judicial functions may be published in judgments. Publication of judgments is also a requirement of the constitutional principle of open justice and is necessary means to support the rule of law. As such it is in the public interest.
Our Contact detail
Valuation Tribunal Service, 2nd Floor 120 Leman Street, London E1 8EU
Phone: 0303 4458100
Data Protection Officer: Amy Dusanjh, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of privacy notice: December 2023
This notice applies to information we collect about:
- visitors to our websites
- people who use our services to make an appeal
- people who request a publication from us or subscribe to our email alert services
- people who telephone us
- people who complain about our service
- job applicants
- complainants and other individuals in relation to data protection or freedom of information enquiries
Visitors to our website
When someone visits the website we collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. We collect this information in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. We do not associate any data gathered from this site with any personally identifying information from any source.
If we collect any personally identifiable information through our website, it will only be used for a service you have requested, eg for an email alert or to make an appeal.
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. Cookies cannot be used to identify you personally.
Google Analytics software is used to collect information about how you use our website. We do this to make sure the site is meeting the needs of users and how we could make improvements. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.
Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, visit www.allaboutcookies.org or the Information Commissioner’s website, www.ico.org.uk.
People who use our services
We have to collect the details of the people who have requested the service in order to provide it. However, we will only collect the minimum information we need and use these details to provide the service the person has requested and for other closely related purposes.
Making an appeal
We collect and process this data as the law says we must to perform our official duty, which is administering appeals for the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE). We will keep personal information secure and for as long as we should in line with the legislation that relates to us and our own retention policy.
- We collect from you what the law says we need to have in order for you to make an appeal i.e. name, address, telephone number, email address etc. In some circumstances, if it is part of your case/evidence that you send to us, you may include ‘special category’ data, for example about your health or living arrangements.
- We are unable to return documents so please do not send important originals.
- If you send us or copy us into any correspondence or documents that do not relate to your appeal or to the VTS, we will not retain these.
- For appeals against rating lists before 2017, under the law, the data we hold about your appeal came to us first from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). You would have provided that data in the proposal that you submitted to the VOA.
- By law, we have to let the organisation whose decision you are appealing against (the council or the VOA) know about your appeal and share with them the information we receive from you.
- Tribunal proceedings (hearings) are generally required to be held in public. This is an aspect of the constitutional right to open justice. Exceptional reasons would need to be shown for a hearing to be held in private. (There is more about this in the Practice Statement Private or closed hearings).
- Tribunal decisions are public documents; this is necessary in the administration of justice, to demonstrate open justice and to enable citizens to understand their rights and obligations. We have to hold VTE decisions for six years and make them available for inspection to anyone who wishes to see them, by law. For most appeal types we do this by publishing the decisions on our online service, after they have been issued to the parties. You can object to having your decision published on the service and the Practice Statement, Publication of Decisions tells you more about this. This service, like other areas of our website, is indexed by Google and so it is possible for decisions to be found by carrying out a Google search.
We make other, related uses of your data so that we can perform our official duties as best we can, in the public interest.
- We may need to contact the council or the VOA to clarify some information with them, which helps us to deal with your case as quickly as we can.
- During the hearing, the clerk will take notes for their own personal use to help them draft the tribunal members’ decision. These notes can be requested via a subject access request (SAR) under the data protection legislation.
- We keep your case papers and those of the other party (council or VOA) on our appeals management system for four months after the appeal has been decided, in case there is any challenge to the VTE’s decision. They are then securely deleted from our appeals management system.
- For appeals against the 2017 rating list, payments and any refunds are managed through GOV.UK Pay, which is certified as a level 1 service provider with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regarding payment security. The VTS neither uses or stores any personal data from these transactions that is additional to the personal data you provide as part of your appeal.
- We provide an online search facility for appeals that are yet to be listed and also those that will be heard in the near future.
We use contact details of unrepresented appellants in surveys to find out if they are happy with the level of service they received from us. The contact details will normally be used once you have received the notice of acknowledgement (pre-hearing survey) and after you have received your decision from the Tribunal (post-hearing survey). We send the minimum amount of information (full name and email address) securely to an independent research company (Savanta) that reports its findings to us, without identifying anyone. Savanta handles and disposes of the personal information securely, as their professional code of conduct and our contract with them requires. If you are contacted to take part in the survey, you may of course refuse. Alternatively, you can contact us to ask that your information is not provided to Savanta.
 Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009 as amended; Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 as amended; Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009 as amended.
Requesting a publication or subscribing to an email alert
We will only use your contact details to provide the documents or email alert you request, unless you also have an appeal with us.
People who phone us
When you call the VTS, we collect statistical data on call volumes and, for example, the duration of calls, to help improve efficiency and effectiveness. The telephone system does not record conversations or any personal information about the caller. If you have an appeal with us, we may note the key elements of a phone conversation in our appeals management system, to help us manage your appeal and hearing.
People who make a complaint to us
When we receive a complaint from someone, we will only use the personal information we collect to investigate and respond to the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. We do compile and publish statistics showing the number and type of complaints we receive, but not in a form which identifies anyone.
We usually have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about. If a complainant doesn’t want information identifying him or her to be disclosed, we will try to respect that. However, it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.
We will keep personal information in line with our retention policy. This means that information relating to a complaint will be retained for two years from closure of the complaint. It will be held securely in electronic files with limited access.
If you send us or copy us into any correspondence or documents that do not relate to either your appeal or to the VTS, we will not retain these.
When individuals apply to work at the VTS, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example if we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Disclosure and Barring Service we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.
Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for one year after the recruitment exercise has been completed, in line with our retention policy; it will then be securely destroyed or deleted. We may ask for your permission to use your CV in any other future recruitment exercises. We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.
Automated decision-making and profiling
The VTS does not use automated decision making or profiling.
Links to other websites
This privacy notice does not cover the links from our website to other websites and you should read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.
Complaints or queries about data protection
The VTS tries to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this very seriously. We encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We would also welcome any suggestions for improving our procedures. Please contact the Data Protection Officer on email@example.com or at the address on page 1.
Changes to this privacy notice
We keep our privacy notice under regular review on our website. This privacy notice was last updated on 12 December 2023.
Your rights in relation to your personal information
You have the right to expect that your personal data is kept secure. We are committed to doing all we can to keep your data secure. To prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place technical and organisational procedures, so that for example, only the staff who need access to your data have it. We also make sure that any third parties we deal with have a contractual obligation to keep secure all personal data they process on our behalf.
Subject AccessRequests and Data Subject Rights
The VTS aims to be as open as it can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information about them by making a subject access request (SAR) under the General Data Protection Regulation. Normally we must provide the data within one month and free of charge. To make a request to the VTS for any personal information we may hold about you, it is very helpful if you put the request in writing, emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the contact details provided at the beginning of this notice.
If we do hold information about you we will give you a copy of it. You have certain other rights as a data subject, as described below.
- We want to ensure that the data we hold is accurate, complete and up to date. You can ask us to correct any mistakes. You can ask us to stop processing your data until it has been corrected.
- If we are holding your personal data longer than we need to, you can ask us to erase it.
- You have the right to object to the VTS processing your data, if you have specific personal grounds for this.
- If you provide the VTS with your personal data as part of a contract and we process it by automated means, you can request that we transfer this to another data controller.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with the way we handle your personal data or your information request, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner.
The ICO’s address is:
Tel: 0303 123 1113