In my last letter to you all I outlined a number of events that were to take place in September and I wanted to take the opportunity to update you all on events that I attended and have been involved with since.
I along with IRRV CEO David Magor was due to attend the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) Conference 2020 in Denver, Colorado USA but like so many events now, we were not able to attend in person. I plan to set out more fully in the next edition of Valuer Magazine a more detailed overview of what happened. Suffice to say of course that it was a wholly different experience, partly on the basis due to the time different that I found myself participating in the Conference welcome event online at 2am BST networking with other attendees !
Entertainment was provided by a Country and an ‘80s band along with several caricature artists. A series of educational sessions followed over the next two days /nights. There were networking opportunities and a virtual exhibition which included a wide range of exhibitors including a significant number of providers specialising in the use of digital mapping, those providing specialist advice on finding value both missing or undervalued and of course providers who can support you to best use technology to improve the service you provide or the work that you undertake. David presented a paper on Exemptions and Reliefs – A legitimate way of reducing the property tax burden ?
I was particularly interested in the sessions which identified ways of improving property taxation by using Automated Valuation Models, Improving Work Flow Efficiency & Productivity in your Office and the perennial problem of dealing with ways to show compliance surrounding service of notices “I never got my Notice” True or False ? – How to prove it !
If you have not done so already, you can register online using the link: IRRV Virtual Conference & Exhibition and of course it is free for members. We are indebted to our sponsors and exhibitors for their support and the event will provide an great opportunity work with our members across all fields of the industries and professional expertise in the Institute.
We also have the Annual General Meeting of the Institute taking place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 6th October which will be held on line. Please also register for this meeting which can be done by emailing Gary Watson to confirm your attendance.
Other key aspects of our work continue however with the response to the call for evidence issued by HM Treasury covering a “Fundamental Review of Business Rates”. The first part of the Institutes response has been submitted and covers the issues of the level of the multiplier for 2021/22 and the approach to reliefs and exemptions. I was also pleased to be able to participate in a discussion with HMT and the VOA on the progress of the review to date. The second stage of the review which is due for submission at the end of October will form a key topic of discussion in the coming weeks at the Faculty Boards, representing the various sector and interest groups of the Institute, but there will also be the opportunity to hear, discuss and share thoughts in the panel sessions of conference.
Of course there have been further announcements concerning the now cancelled Autumn Budget 2020 statement and the Winter Economic Plan that was announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to deal with “a fundamentally different position than we were in March”.
As we all adapt and change to this different world the IRRV Council and the Policy & Resources Committee also held additional meetings over and above those that would normally take place to consider a number of issues affecting the running of the Institute and the preparations being put in place for the virtual Conference & Exhibition.
It is important to note that changes are taking place in different areas and I was pleased to be able to attend as an observer two recent cases determined by the Valuation Tribunal for England under the new Remote Hearing Protocol. I am sure at the best of times the appearance by an unrepresented party is daunting at the best of times, but to do so by way of a virtual hearing can be a challenge. But having said that it was indeed challenging for all parties, the panel and indeed the Clerk to the Tribunal. All having to get to grips with unfamiliar technology and the inevitable IT problems. There are perhaps a couple points I have learnt from this. As ever it is essential to prepare and that means ensuring compliance with the directions issued. Additionally, if you have not used the IT / Technology before a test run to ensure it works would be sensible and that means checking also that the systems work outside your own company or department. I was impressed with the way that the hearings were supported by the Valuation Tribunal Service. We should be under no illusion however that such hearings can be very intense and for that reason regular breaks need to be planned into the process.
So in signing off – do please register for our 1st virtual Annual Conference & Exhibition, take the opportunity to visit the virtual stands, the online social events and indeed remember that you have no excuse not to visit them all this calendar year as access to the conference portal will be open even when the conference formally concludes.
Best wishes to you all for an enjoyable and engaging conference