Contributors are asked to sign up for a Government user panel and answer “a few simple questions” about themselves, which should take around five minutes.
Businesses can take part in the research sessions, which will typically last an hour, in person or online, can always say no to a user panel invitation and are welcome to leave the panel at any time.
Furthermore, contributors “may be compensated” for their time while participation in the research will have “no impact” on personal dealings with the VOA with information provided “fully confidential and stored securely”, the Government website states.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It’s important Government agencies, such as the VOA, conduct this research with its own customers to understand what can be improved in its service.
“One area for particular improvement would be to streamline payment by multiple-site businesses.
“The VOA provides a critical function to hospitality businesses and it’s essential its property valuations reflect the post-Covid environment so that venues’ business rates are equitable.
“However, we still need fundamental review and reform of the business rates system to better reflect the current economy and reduce costs for high-street and community-based businesses like hospitality.”
This follows calls from trade bodies across the sector for an urgent reform to business rates following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November last year.
Regarding the Autumn Statement, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Urgent root and branch reform is still needed to make business rates fit for the 21st century; the Government doesn’t recognise the completely archaic nature of the current system.
“The failure to provide any further relief for our industry will hit pubs, breweries and their customers extremely hard, and will have a devastating, lasting impact on communities across the country.”