Response 169230818

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About You

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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Ticked Individual
Organisation

Questions

1. Do you agree that freedom of information legislation should be extended to Registered Social Landlords, as proposed in this consultation paper?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

2. Freedom of Information can be extended to organisations that undertake ‘functions of a public nature’. You may wish to provide comments on how you consider that RSLs undertake functions of a public nature, for example, with reference to the factors referred to earlier in the consultation paper.

Please enter comments:
Whilst it can be argued that RSL’s perform certain public functions such as fulfilling a local Authorities housing obligations in terms of the 2001 Housing Scotland Act they are also Private companies, albeit not for profit, and as such require to compete within the Commercial market place. This results in decisions having to be taken on a commercial basis from time to time this should not be published. Whilst there are a number of exceptions within the Act to protect the disclosure of some of this information the exceptions are narrowly defined in order to ensure that maximum information can be disclosed and accordingly RSL’s may suffer within the commercial market place.

3. The proposed order would be expected to come into force on 1 April 2018. Do you consider this a reasonable timescale, allowing for preparation for inclusion?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
If not, you may wish to indicate what timescale you feel would be more appropriate and why.
April 2018 would be insufficient time to co-ordinate the resourcing, planning and updating of systems in order to deal with requests. If Freedom of Information was to be implemented organisations would need longer to prepare and 2020 would be a better timescale. Given the potential for a large number of FOI requests to be made as soon as the legislation comes into force some organisations may have to recruit staff and develop policies and procedures to handle a large numbers of requests.

4. We would welcome comments on the draft partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment provided at Annex A.

Comments:
Redacted text principal source of income comes from its tenants' rent. They have a duty to spend that money in an open and transparent manner that is for the benefit of its tenants. It is likely that should RSL's be included within the FOI Act the number of requests, particularly at the time of incorporation, would be so many that a large additional resource would require to be put into place by the company. This means that more of the tenants rent would be spent on resourcing a particular tool that is likely to be only used by a minority of tenants and journalists thus not being used for the benefit of tenants in general.

5. We would welcome comments on how these proposals might impact on ‘Equality Groups’ i.e. in respect of age, gender, race, religion, disability, sexuality, children’s rights etc. Comments will inform the Equalities Impact Assessment and Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment to be completed following consultation.

Comments
No impact, detrimental or otherwise.