Glasgow: 0141 221 5562 Edinburgh: 0131 220 7660

Changes to FOI Law and COVID: What do RSLs Need to Know?

Changes to FOI Law and COVID: What do RSLs Need to Know?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone. However as lockdowns lift and vaccines begin to take effect, the Scottish Government has begun to walk back some changes in law made to accommodate the impact of the pandemic through the: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021.

What does the Act Change?

The Act repeals a number of provisions contained in Coronavirus legislation passed in 2020 and, in particular, reverses some of the leniency around FOI compliance.

Under changes to the law made

What do Scotland’s new Heat Network Laws mean for RSLs?

What do Scotland’s new Heat Network Laws mean for RSLs?

The new Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 (the “Act”) is not without its controversies, with correspondence released under Freedom of Information this summer showing that the Queen had lobbied the Scottish Government in order to seek changes to the Act.

But, what does this legislation mean for RSLs – both those operate heat networks and those who currently have no plans to do so? This blog will give an overview of upcoming changes that RSLs should monitor.

What is a heat network?

Heat networks

New SIC Report on the RSL Sector’s First Year in FOI

New SIC Report on the RSL Sector’s First Year in FOI

In November 2019 no one could have predicted what a difficult year 2020 would prove to be. However a new report published by the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) highlights that RSLs are coping well with their new FOI obligations despite the challenges raised by COVID-19.

The Report contains a number of key figures, namely:

  • 97% of RSLs and subsidiaries who responded were confident in their ability to respond to FOI requests.
  • The majority of respondents confirmed that FOI had not contributed significantly to their workloads

New SIC Decision on RSL’s handling of FOI request

New SIC Decision on RSL’s handling of FOI request

The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has recently published one of the first decision notices on a RSL’s handling of a FOI request.

Whilst the decision notice (which can be viewed here) does not answer some of the bigger questions the sector has about their new FOI duties it does act as a reminder of some key aspects of FOI compliance. So, what can RSLs learn from this decision?

What was the decision about?

The decision concerned a failure to respond to a request for

Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?

Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?

Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) may already be concerned about their ability to respond to requests within the statutory 20 working day timescale due to the possible implications of Covid-19. Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?  In light of the continued spread of the virus, the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has published a statement addressing the obligation on public authorities to comply with the timescales set out in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs).

Freedom of Information: New Guidance Published for RSLs and their Subsidiaries

Freedom of Information: New Guidance Published for RSLs and their Subsidiaries

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:

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

What does Freedom of Information mean for RSL Procurement?

What does Freedom of Information mean for RSL Procurement?

Office equipment; repair services; boilers; stationary and much more are bought by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) as a matter of course.

Sometimes it's simple for an RSL to buy things, other times it's more complex and subject to public procurement law. No matter what, information about what they are buying will be given to the RSL by the supplier.

Come 11 November 2019 this information will be covered by Freedom of Information (FOI). This will impact not only RSLs, but the people and companies that

Nine months and counting until Freedom of Information comes to the RSL sector

Nine months and counting until Freedom of Information comes to the RSL sector

On 11 November 2019 all Scottish RSLs will become subject to Freedom of Information (FOI). This will give members of the public the right to request information that RSLs hold.

Whilst RSLs are currently required to respond to public requests for environmental information, the draft 'Order' published by the Scottish Government on 08 February will mean that RSLs (and in some cases their subsidiaries) need to provide a wide range of information if requested, subject to that Order being approved by parliament. This is

Public Contracts and the GDPR

Public Contracts and the GDPR

With less than a month to go before the implementation of the GDPR it is crucial that existing and future public contracts comply with the new legislation. What will change in respect of public contracts and the GDPR?

The Scottish Government has published a Policy Note on the impact the GDPR will have on public procurement and contracts. This blog will highlight the key features of the note alongside steps organisations should take to get their public contracts and procurement processes GDPR ready.

What is

What should I know about hiring students?

What should I know about hiring students?

In 2015, 77% of university students worked to help fund their studies. With the new university year beginning, what do employers, and students, need to know about hiring students?

  1. ' Regulations for Younger Workers '

Most university students are over the age of 18, but some students may be younger. Workers under the age of 18 have additional employment rights. For example 16 & 17 year olds are entitled to a 30 minute rest break if they work more than 4.5 hours. It is