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Part 2: The Initial Banding Exercise – England & Wales; and the subsequent revaluation in Wales

VO letters and forms which are not included as appendices are available as MS Word Templates.

2.1 Background

The initial banding exercise was carried out in 1991/1992. The Valuation Office Agency was responsible for the completion of the exercise and was assisted in its task by outside contractors. It required the allocation of a band to every known dwelling in England and Wales in accordance with Section 1 part 1.2, and for these bands to be entered into the Valuation List ready for publication in March 1993.

To assist in this task, a valuation model for banding purposes was set up.

2.2 The Valuation Model

The Model sought to utilise to the full, information and records already held within the Agency, thereby enabling the great majority of dwellings to be banded at the desk, thus reducing the need for external inspections.

The Model laid down the identification of distinct value-significant locations and the main property types occurring in those locations. For these main property types, key properties were identified, fully described and valued to provide a basis for the banding of other properties by using comparables identical to the key properties.

The Model was not appropriate for every locality, or for the valuation of every dwelling in each locality. Nevertheless, it provided a basis for the allocation of bands.

2.3 Key Properties

A number of key properties were identified in each of the discrete value-significant locations. For each of these key properties a Key Property Form VO 7400 (Appendix 1.1) was created. The key property concept provided for the identification of permissible variations whilst still allowing the subject dwelling to remain within the same band.

At the same time, evidence of sales of dwellings on, or within 6 months either side of, the AVD were analysed to accord with the statutory definition of market value as set out in the Domestic Property (Valuation) Regulations 1991.

The valuation of each key property was undertaken in accordance with the above Regulations and its appropriate Council Tax band allocated and the key property form noted accordingly, including details of the comparable evidence and remarks to show how the conclusion was reached.

This was followed by a consideration of which variations were permissible before the band became inappropriate, and these were also noted on the Key Property Form.

The key property forms may be filed in a series of four-ring binders and centrally sited within each Agency location, or included in the valuation banding "bibles" referred to in paragraph 2.5 below. Whilst their usefulness has diminished since their original Valuation List compilation, they should never be destroyed.

2.4 Co-ordination

Following the valuation banding of key properties, Listing Officers liaised with their colleagues in neighbouring/adjoining locations to ensure there was consistency of bands where Agency or Billing Authority boundaries divided centres of population.

2.5 Valuation Banding "bible"

All information and material which it was considered could be used to effectively defend the initial bandings were filed in a series of binders appropriate to each location. The contents should include:-

i) Description of the location.
ii) Plans and maps depicting the valuation location(s).
iii) List of the main key property types (with addresses).
iv) Key property forms (VO 7400) unless filed separately (see paragraph 2.3).
v) Sales information obtained from Particulars Delivered, either in the form of a printout from the ITSD MILO Application or a series of Council Tax transaction forms.
vi) Any press or professional reports on the state of the market in the location generally at the AVD and any commentary reporting movements (if any) in prices between the date of the evidence and the AVD.
vii) An index.

Valuation Banding "bibles" must not be destroyed whilst the current Council Tax Valuation List remains in force.

2.6 The 2005 Revaluation in Wales

On 1 April 2005 a new valuation list came into force in Wales.

The Welsh Assembly Government (now the Welsh Government) commissioned a Council Tax Revaluation and Rebanding of all dwellings in Wales, which took effect on 1 April 2005, with an Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) of 1 April 2003.

Details of the banding structure were announced in The Council Tax (Valuation Bands) (Wales) Order (SI 2003/3046(W289)) which came into force on 30 November 2003.

Banding Methodology

It was decided from the outset that a “manual” Revaluation would take place in Wales. Statistical information of property sales was provided by the VOA to the Welsh Assembly Government in order that a banding structure could be arrived at, and then individual properties placed in those bands. This followed closely the approach adopted for the 1993 Initial Banding Exercise.

The broad methodology and timescale adopted was as follows:-

Survey Records (April 2002-ongoing)

Updating of survey records takes account of alterations to dwellings since 1993.

Information was gathered from taxpayer questionnaires together with external and internal inspections.

Key Sale Creation (October 2002- September 2003)

Identification of the key sales evidence from Particulars Delivered (PD) within each locality was completed. A taxpayer questionnaire was then used to verify survey records as at the date of sale. The sales were later analysed, when the bands were known, to set parameters in readiness for banding.

The Banding Exercise (April 2003- July 2004)

Billing Authority areas were divided into “communities” and the larger communities divided into location specific batches in readiness for banding. Banding sheets were created, which contained not only current band and addresses but also survey characteristics and the last sale on each property, where available. The majority of survey information was not held electronically and, therefore, part of the process involved the caseworker identifying the type and size of each property from manual records, inspection or digital mapping. Where time allowed, and such information was readily available, it was recorded electronically at the same time as the bands were input to the IT system.

Prior to commencement of banding, research was done within each “community” enabling a “bible” to be created containing a summary of key property types and their values, the key sales (with photocopies of relevant documents in readiness for defence), taxpayers questionnaires, estate agents particulars and any other relevant information; e.g. new housing development - house types, etc. The properties within each batch were then banded:

  • Where the sales indicated that the property fell well within band margins no inspection was undertaken.
  • Where the information showed the property to be on the band margins, or there was a lack of property attribute data, an external inspection was usually carried out.

The completed batches were subject to quality control before and after input.

As Communities/Billing Authorities were completed, further quality assurance was undertaken using two computer-generated reports:

  • Deviation reports looked for large band movements (i.e. by comparison of the proposed 2005 band with the 1993 band).
  • Sales reports acted as a check as they allowed comparison of sale prices with bands over a period of time.

Specialist property types including agricultural dwellings, licensed property and park homes were the subject of national (England and Wales) co-ordination to ensure consistency of valuation approach.

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