Brentwood Borough Council

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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 4370

Property Searches

Request

Minute 3.7 of the CIPFA Value Added Tax Committee 3.11.11. states:

“Andy Stapley reported that the LGA has been looking at whether local authorities can or cannot charge for property search products. The outcome of this review will determine if local authorities are legally able to raise these charges and if so, will contribute to the consideration of the correct treatment of VAT. David Ogilvie had agreed to delay making a decision pending the result of the LGA review”.

Could you please

· Tell me the outcome of this review.

· Tell me if it is or has been determined that local authorities are not entitled to raise a charge for CON 29 data and the steps the Council will be taking to reimburse all organisations, including NLIS, the utilities and firms of solicitors in respect of the payments they have made to you for a charge you had no power to levy.

· Provide copies of all communications and recorded information where the issue of your Council’s legal liability to raise any charge has arisen.

Response

• The Council only has a duty under the FOIA to comply with a request for information that it holds but it appears that the Council do not hold the information you are seeking.
• There has been no determination by a Court in relation to this matter. The Council do not hold the information you are seeking in this regard.
• The FOIA provides that the Council do not have to comply with a request for information if the cost of complying with the request exceeds the “appropriate limit” (section 12 of the FOIA). The fee limit is set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Fees and Limits) Regulations 2000. The Council considers that to locate the information sought will breach the fee limit of £450.
The Council confirms that it does the hold the information sought. Your request for the information sought is very broad in nature and would require the Council to carry out an extensive search of all communications and documentation held by the Council relating to this issue.
Under Regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIRs, the Council consider that to comply with your request for information would be manifestly unreasonable and would represent an unreasonable burden upon the resources of the Council.
The Council has a duty under both the FOIA and the EIR to assist you with your request. The Council considers that if this request was more specific and not so wide in its scope, that the request may not then exceed the fee limit set out by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Fees and Limits) Regulations 2000 and may not be deemed manifestly unreasonable. For example, you may wish to narrow your request for a specified period of time.