HC Deb 30 November 1999 vol 340 cc139-40W
Mr. Fearn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that, during the revaluation of non-domestic properties from 1 April 2000, unqualified rating advisers are not able to conduct business. [100268]

Ms Beverley Hughes

Non-domestic ratepayers must remain free to engage the services of anyone they wish. However, they should be aware that unscrupulous operators are active in this field and may not offer a fully professional service.

Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers (ISVA) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV), are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct, and are required to hold adequate professional indemnity insurance.

Before employing a rating adviser who is not a member of one of these bodies, ratepayers should satisfy themselves that he or she has the necessary knowledge and experience, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.

My Department will be strongly reinforcing this message in the run up to the revaluation. It will be included in the information that we intend should be sent to all ratepayers early next year.