The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has recently published two sets of guidance on Freedom of Information (FOI), Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and the terms of the Order which brings RSLs under the FOI regime.
The guidance relates to:
- How Freedom of Information will apply to RSLs and their subsidiary companies; and
- Which RSL subsidiaries are covered by FOI?
RSLs should read the new guidance on Freedom of Information and be aware of the following key points:
- There will be a two-part test for determining whether or not an organisation is covered by FOI. The first test will look at the nature of the organisation (i.e. is it an RSL or a subsidiary) and the second test looks at what functions the organisation carries out (basically asking does the organisation carry out functions outlined in the Order – see our blog for more info)
- SIC has provided an initial view on what RSL subsidiaries are covered by the Order. The two key areas to review are: structure of the organisations (i.e. a company, registered society etc.) and the level of control the RSL has
- RSLs will need to determine whether or not their subsidiaries fall within the scope of the Order
- An individual’s right to request information under FOI will only apply to information which relates to the functions set out in the Order
The guidance also contains best practice tips for assessing FOI requests and responding to them.
Given that FOI will apply to the social housing sector later this year it is important that RSLs familiarise themselves with SIC guidance and their duties under the new regime.
For more information and advice please get in touch.