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After working at the Valuation Office Agency for 31 years I decided to see what life was like on the other side of the fence.

It was certainly an interesting journey working in a government department for so long.  While it isn’t quite how it is perceived on the outside world, some myths are actually true! I was intrigued to see how the property market actually behaved in reality as you hear all kinds of stories working in a government department but don’t really know if they’re true.

The beauty of the property industry is that it always depends on which side of the fence you sit.  While at the VO I dealt with Business Rates appeals and you try to be objective as a government officer but the problem I found with a lot of agents is that they would only tell you half a story.  Often it would turn out if they actually bothered to give you the full picture their view actually made more sense and you were more likely to agree with them.

However, teasing this information out of them and collecting information from other sources took much longer than it should and only added to the delay in dealing with a case.  While the VO could be blamed for a lot of the delays, the agents were also to blame.
I always felt people would deliberately only give half a picture in the fear that the VO would end up increasing the assessment or rubbishing the argument for a reduction.

While information in its raw format could always be interpreted a number of ways, a well-structured argument examining all the evidence with a well-constructed conclusion would nearly always be accepted by the VOA. With all the political and press commentary that surrounds the frustration with Business Rates at the moment I wanted to jump to the other side and show how it could be done and that there was no need to despair. 

Despite the problems that the Valuation Office is going through if the private sector works closely and collaboratively with them then collectively we can achieve the goal that both sides are seeking and that is a fair and reasonable business rates assessment for everyone.

For expert advice on Business Rates contact Steven Bicknell:
01476 514453 | 07500 065988 |