Can you help this EHN Member get better access to Council Tax data? They need an urgent response. They write:
We are currently trying to get gaining additional resources to work on Empty Homes and to improve some of the processes used for our work within the Council.
We have been pushing for several years to gain direct access to Council Tax as we all know this is fairly standard practice. But between our Council Tax and Information Governance Teams we have never been able to quite get this put in place.
We have been requested to supply examples of other Local Authorities who already have direct access to support this so we are requesting that any of those who do have (which we believe from our regional forum meetings is a fair number of practitioners) please respond to this request.
If any of the following additional info could also be provided it would be really helpful:
- how you arranged gaining direct access and what the process was;
- were any data protection agreements put in place/signed;
- system used by Council Tax (if known);
- what impact has having the access had on your job, e.g identifying properties more accurately
- importantly, what the benefits have been for your council eg in generating more income either through identifying incorrectly registered properties, empty homes premium or NHB or simply saving time all around.
- If any benefits can be seen specifically for Council tax (operationally) this would be very useful.
All of the above has been requested to argue why we should be given direct access especially as one of the outcomes we aim to achieve is additional data cleansing resources which will obviously required better access.
One of the main arguments against granting access is that we will be able to see other information which is data protected but we believe it is our responsibility not to abuse that and use the information correctly so would be interested to hear any opinions on this. Our response to this is the information we are allowed access to under Sec 85 Loc Gov Act 2003 is also Data Protected by all of us.
It is expected that our next meeting will be this week so we would be really grateful to anyone who is able to respond within the next few days.