Response 1053182636

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Sean clerkin

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Glasgow home owners campaign


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

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Ticked Yes

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.

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Housing associations provide social housing in the form of affordable rented homes to working class people including supported housing to the elderly, the disabled and to other vulnerable people in the communities of Scotland. Freedom of information should cover all tenants of all housing associations and cooperatives in Scotland as the above represents carrying out functions of a public nature. Housing associations including the Glasgow housing association provide factoring services to tens of thousands of home owners and the surpluses generated from management fees and other charges to factored home owners are spent on functions of a public nature like community play areas and training for modern apprenticeships. At the Glasgow housing association area committees have been created where factored home owners have been invited on to them to help decide what functions of a public nature the surpluses should be spent on. In 2014-15 over one million pounds of surplus came from your place the factoring wing of gha and the money was put into the general pool of resources to be spent on tenants and the local communities of Glasgow. The idea that factoring by housing associations is a private commercial one is mistaken in that the surpluses generated are not profits but monies that are used for public purposes. Nicola sturgeon at her main constituency election meeting this year just prior to the Scottish parliamentary elections gave a commitment from the platform that as well as tenants being covered by an extension to freedom of information that home owners factored by housing associations would have the same foisa rights as tenants. Her answe is a matter of public record on YouTube filmed by indylive.

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?

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Ticked Yes
If not, you may wish to indicate what timescale you feel would be more appropriate and why.
Having been involved in campaigning on this' issue for some years it will take an appropriate amount of time for preparation for inclusion. All housing associations and housing cooperatives should be covered by freedom of information. The coverage should not just be for tenants but the extension of freedom of information should include all factored home owners who are factored by housing associations as the home owners financial surpluses are used for functions of a public nature by housing associations especially the Glasgow housing association. If housing associations and housing coops are to be truly open, transparent and accountable the extension of foisa rights should be extended to journalists and academics and all other interested parties. This is true freedom of information. If an institution has nothing to hide they should welcome comprehensive freedom of information being extended to them. I was very disappointed in the recent public comments of Mary Taylor from the Scottish federation of housing associations when she said that the social housing charter gave tenants the information they require. I am sorry but no housing professional should determine what information is required for someone else. She also knows that if a housing association does not want to give information to a tenant then that tenant has no legal right to get that information. That is why we need foisa. In addition Rosemary Agnew the freedom of information commissioner has said that foisa is looked on as an extra by housing associations instead as part of an integrated service that leads to service improvement and more informed decision making .

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

There are clear benefits to extending foisa to all associations and housing coops as previously stated in making them transparent open and accountable. They would become more efficient in decision making and the road barriers the housing association professionals will put up do not stand up to scrutiny. When considering the impact , the freedom of information commissioner stated that when foisa was adopted by culture and leisure trusts the impact was not especially problematic or caused any great change in either the volume or complexity of requests for information than before they were under Foisa. The key to minimise impact is to provide time and support for foisa through providing the right resources, support and training which would be available from the freedom of information commissioners office and other public authorities. What we need is the political will to follow through and ignore the spurious arguments of housing association interests that do not wish to be open transparent and accountable.

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.

Foisa can only improve equality for all those involved..