GWSF welcomes common sense approach on Freedom of Information

David Bookbinder
David Bookbinder

The Scottish Government’s intention not to extend the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation to housing associations has been welcomed by the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

The Scottish Government is consulting on extending FOI to a number of bodies involved with a range of security, care and educational functions but says it is not convinced that it would be proportionate to subject housing associations to the legislation.

GWSF director David Bookbinder said: “This is a common sense approach from the Scottish Government. Our member associations are absolutely committed to being as open and transparent as possible with all their tenants and others who use their services. The first round of Charter results last year showed that associations generally score more highly than their local authority counterparts when it comes to tenants’ views on how open their landlord is.

“This shows that being subject to FOI is no guarantee that an organisation will be perceived to be more transparent. In fact it could be argued that FOI requests are sometimes made precisely because not enough information is made widely available.

“The consultation will be especially welcomed by smaller housing associations, on whom FOI demands would have had a disproportionate impact in terms of staff resources.

“But associations are not complacent about this issue. GWSF will work with the Scottish Government and Information Commissioner to explore how associations can develop their approach to openness and transparency.”

The consultation closes on September 4.


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