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Scottish Government Consulting on Draft Order to Extend FOI to RSLs

The Scottish Government has announced a draft order detailing the basis by which it intends to extend the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to Scottish Housing Associations and Co-operatives.   

 

There will be a three month consultation on the draft, with responses due by 7 March 2018.   SFHA will be submitting a response, and is currently analysing what proposals would mean for SFHA members.

SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas said:

"SFHA had been anticipating a decision from Scottish Government regarding the potential extension of Freedom of Information to RSLs in Scotland, since the initial consultation concluded in early 2017.  

“Whilst we are still unpicking the detail of the proposed order, we are concerned that the intention is to include RSL subsidiaries under the scope of extension depending on the services provided. As highlighted in our response to the earlier Scottish Government consultation, RSL subsidiaries are purely commercial entities, and SFHA has argued against their inclusion for this reason.

“It is welcome that that the proposal does not include care services in the order, and we will be discussing with Scottish Government further aspects of services that may or may not be covered under the proposed wording.

"Housing associations and cooperatives are open and transparent organisations with voluntary governing bodies, and are subject to extensive regulation by the Scottish Housing Regulator, the office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and the Care Inspectorate.   Furthermore, they are working to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations that come into effect in May 2018.  

Given that the final order is not expected to be passed by the Scottish Parliament until at least summer 2018 as a result of the consultation process, SFHA would argue that the proposed commencement date of April 2019 does not represent enough time for the significant preparation that will be required to successfully implement FOI across the sector.”

The full Scottish Government consultation paper and draft order is available here .  If you have any comments relating to these proposals, and would like to feed into the SFHA’s response, please contact Alan Stokes astokes@sfha.co.uk

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