CVS Business Rates – A Civil Service People Survey, led by the ORC International, has this week narrated the sad story of over 2,000 Valuation Office Agency employees, highlighting that almost a quarter of staff want to leave the organisation now, or within the next 12 months.
The survey, released by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) themselves, reveals a desperate situation and state of unhappiness amongst staff, strengthening fears that their cries for help are continuing to go unheard by Government.
The VOA is responsible for attributing commercial property values to the 1.9million businesses across England and Wales. Commercial property assessments, known as Rateable Values, can be challenged by business owners if they believe they are not fair and accurate to their individual premise.
A few weeks ago, the VOA released its statistics in challenges made by businesses to their rates. The document revealed that as of 30 September 2016, the VOA had received a staggering 1.04million challenges against the 2010 Rating List, and that only 64,000 appeals had been resolved this year; 90,000 short of their own yearly target.
The document highlighted that;
24% of VOA staff want to leave the organisation (11% want to leave now, 13% within the next 12 months)
Only 9% strongly agree that they have the tools to do their job
Only 7% of staff strongly agree they have an acceptable workload
Only 3% of staff strongly agree the VOA is well managed
Only 2% of staff strongly agree that changes at the VOA are made for the better
Only 2% strongly agree that their pay adequately reflects their performance
Only 6% of those surveyed strongly believe that senior managers in the VOA will take action from this survey
We’ve long called for Government support for the VOA, because we believe that enough is enough.
The staff at the VOA are currently having to contend with a ‘leaky bucket’ of some 280,000 unresolved cases, a third-less resource by 2020, the possibility of a reduced Rating cycle from 5 years to 3, and a new, complex appeals process by way of ‘Check. Challenge. Appeal.’- what more can they take?
The survey undertaken by VOA staff themselves is clearly a cry for help, and it the Government continue to choose to ignore them. The VOA provides an invaluable service to businesses and is continuing to be starved of the support it so desperately needs.
We urge Government to ‘step up to the plate’ to get the VOA house in order ahead of we expect to be another busy year for business rates appeals.
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