Thank you very much to those who took part in our survey. Disappointingly there were only 10 responses. Seven had come via the link published in Valuation in Practice.
Three of the 10 responses were from council employees, one of whom had come to look at the Practice Statement and decisions. Two were VOA employees and five were representatives/agents/ chartered surveyors, two of whom had visited the website to look at Decisions and Lists.
Seven of the 10 described themselves as frequent visitors.
Eight found everything they were looking for and the others found ‘some’ of what they were looking for. Seven were very satisfied with their visit, two quite satisfied and one neutral.
Three found the website very easy to use, four quite easy and one neutral. Two found it somewhat difficult and from their comments, their complaints seem to relate to searching in Decisions and Lists, which we are unable to change. However, some search guidance could possibly have been provided, but their contact details were not given. On the ease of finding information, two thought it was very good and five thought it was good. One thought it was poor, again commenting on the Decisions and Lists search facility.
The language used on the website was found to be very easy to understand by six and easy to understand by the other four, though of course these were professional people who understand the terminology.
Seven found the accuracy of the information on the website to be very good and three good.
There were seven comments (though only one person requested a response):
- one merely congratulated the VTS on Valuation in Practice. Thank you!
- one wanted to be able to pay clients’ CCA fees by BACs over the website. While it will not be possible to pay fees for appeals against the 2017 rating list by BACs, we will shortly have an appeals portal which will allow payments through Govpay by credit card.
- one wanted CTL decisions to be easier to search and said that too many show the grounds as miscellaneous; they suggest that staff actually try to find decisions themselves so that they understand the problems. We will take up this suggestion once our new appeals database is in operation.
- two wanted to be able to search for 2017 and 2010 lists and decision in the same place. This is not technically possible, sorry. Pre-2017 list appeals are held on our existing appeals database and the pages on our website link to that separate database. As we will shortly be migrating from that database, we cannot invest anything on improvements/changes to that site. Appeals against the 2017 rating list are not held on that database so have to recorded manually on our website at present.
- one wondered why Welsh decisions for the 2017 list were not included. The appeals process for the 2017 rating list is different in Wales and the data are not accessible by the VTS to publish on our website.
- one complained about the difficulties of searching Decisions and Lists. As explained above, we will shortly be migrating from that database and so we cannot invest anything on improvements/changes to that site. However, some of the difficulties described could be overcome with the use of wild cards and free text searching, both of which are described in the Help.
Qualitative work is planned to take during March to observe and report on how inexperienced people use the website throughout the appeals process and their views about their experience. This will provide more valuable feedback.