Tuesday 2 November 2010

GLC calls for widescale 'FOI' extension in Scotland

GLC has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on 'Extending the coverage of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002', which closed this week, by calling for the Act to be extended to cover the Glasgow Housing Association Ltd, and its factoring company, as well as asserting the general principle that the Act should be extended to a comprehensive range of private, third sector, and other bodies who are in receipt of substantial public funds, subject to 'proportionality criteria'.  GLC has argued that:

"As a matter of general principle, we believe there is a strong case for arguing that any body – whether private, third sector or public – should be subject to the 2002 Act in relation to the public money which they receive (and how it is spent) or public services which they provide subject to fair and reasonable proportionality criteria. Such proportionality criteria could be based around (a) the value of the contract or award and/or (b) the number of employees in the entity".

"We fully support proposals to extend coverage of the Act to GHA. We agree that GHA is a RSL unique in terms of size and public profile. In March 2003, Glasgow City Council transferred its housing stock to GHA with the result that GHA carries out functions which were previously carried out by the local authority. This means that people in Glasgow, who were formerly council tenants and are now tenants of GHA are unable to access information other tenants in other parts of Scotland would be able to access through Freedom of Information Act requests. Extending the coverage of the Act to include GHA will help address this inequity".

"We strongly believe that coverage of the Act should also include GHA’s factoring service, ‘Your Place’. As well as taking on responsibility for Glasgow City Council’s rented properties, GHA took over the council’s factoring responsibilities when the stock was transferred. GHA are now the factors of many ex-council properties. They are in a unique position as a factor in that they are the majority owner in many of the common closes they factor. This means that they often have to balance their role as owner and factor. We feel that it would be in the public interest to be able to obtain information regarding GHA’s factoring service through Freedom of Information requests".


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