This tells you what to expect when the Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS) collects personal information. It applies to information we collect about:

  • visitors to our websites
  • people who telephone us
  • people who use our services, eg make an appeal, or request a publication from us, or subscribe to our alert services
  • complainants and other individuals in relation to data protection or freedom of information enquiries
  • job applicants and our current and former employees

Visitors to our website

When someone visits www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk 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.

Use of cookies by the VTS

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.

The table below explains the cookies we use and why.

Cookie Name Purpose More information
Google Analytics _utma _utmb _utmc _utmz These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors use our site. We use the information to help us improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, where visitors have come from and the pages they visited. The different types expire are different periods, between when you exit the browser and 2 years after your visit. Click here for an overview of privacy at Google.

To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics accross all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout

Site customisation Style This applies to the text resize facility. It allows the text size you've selected to be remembered from page to page. It expires when you exit the browser.
Browsealoud __ba_allow_secure
__ba_cookies_enabled
__ba_launch_audio_alert
__ba_plus

__ba_settings
__ba_trans_ok
_baga
_ga
_gat_batracker
rwebooks-x
rwebooks-y
allow secure speech requests to be made
allow Browsealoud cookies
has the audio alert happened
launch toolbar automatically if previously
opened
stored user settings
translation disclaimer accepted
Google analytics
Google analytics
Google analytics
for toolbar position
for toolbar position

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.

Mobile phones – rejecting cookies

For information about how to reject cookies on your mobile phone’s web browser, see your handset manual.

People who use our services

We have to hold the details of the people who have requested the service in order to provide it. However, we only use these details to provide the service the person has requested and for other closely related purposes. For example,

  • we collect what the law says we need to have in order for an appeal to be made;
  • we may have to contact the Valuation Office Agency or the billing authority that you are appealing against to clarify some information;
  • we have a statutory duty to hold Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) decisions for six years and make them available for inspection to anyone who wishes to see them;
  • we publish on our website lists of appeals that will be heard in the near future and VTE decisions on them once they have been issued to the parties. This is in accordance with Practice Statement C3, Publication of Decisions. This area of our website, like other areas, is indexed by Google, and other search engines, and so decisions may be found by carrying out a Google search.
  • we occasionally use information about people to carry out a survey to find out if they are happy with the level of service they received from us. In this case, we send the information securely to an independent research company who report the responses to us without identifying personal information. The third party handles and disposes of the personal information securely.

We will keep personal information in line with the legislation that relates to us and our own retention policy.

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. If you have an appeal with us, we may note the key elements of a phone conversation on our appeals database.

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 information like the number 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 six years from closure. It will be retained in a secure environment and access to it will be restricted according to the ‘need to know’ principle.

Job applicants, current and former VTS employees

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 where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau 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 two years after the recruitment exercise has been completed, in line with our retention policy; it will then be destroyed or deleted. We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.

Once a person has taken up employment with the VTS, we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with us has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention policy and then delete it.

Complaints or queries

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.

Access to personal information

The VTS tries 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 by making a ‘subject access request’ under the Data Protection Act 1998. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

To make a request to the VTS for any personal information we may hold you need to put the request in writing emailing it to foi@vts.gsi.gov.uk or writing to the address provided below.

If we do hold information about you, you can ask us to correct any mistakes.

Links to other websites

This privacy notice does not cover the links within this site linking to other websites and you should read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated on 17 May 2016.

How to contact us

Requests for information about our privacy policy can be emailed using the Contact Us link or by writing to the:

Corporate Services Manager
Valuation Tribunal Service
Second Floor
120 Leman Street
London
E1 8EU