Scottish Housing Associations are now subject to Freedom of Information laws. When is this going to be extended to England and Wales?
Scottish housing associations are going to be subject to Freedom of Information law in November
It is reported (1) that this will mean that residents will finally have rights to information in Scotland.
Potentially, residents can even see board minutes where decision are taken about our lives without us having any say in what happens.
This new regulation will apply to homes owned by Scottish housing associations. So, not those homes which are only managed (not owned) by housing associations in Scotland.
Wales has to wait for Parliament to act
In Wales the devolved government does have the same powers to change the law and ensure the FOI applied to housing association (2), so it will be up to Parliament.
In England meanwhile residents have absolutely no right to information under FOI laws. This encourages lax behaviour by housing associations and increases the arrogance and incompetence of housing association management.
No FOI means secrecy about repairs
For example, Notting Hill Genesis have refused to release consultant’s reports on repairs. They have also refused to release details of complaints about repairs. They refuse to release details of pilot projects aimed at resolving the bad repairs service. This means that residents continue to be left in the dark about why the repair service is so terrible.
Notting Hill Genesis (or rather one of its per-merger parts, Genesis Housing Association) have refused to give information about average rent levels, the number of social rent homes that have been built and the cyclical maintenance programme.
The Information Commissioner is in favour of FOI applying to housing associations
The Information Commissioner has long argued that FOI law should apply to housing associations, but the Government has not listened.
It is time for a change in the law.