Why is Kingdom Housing Association subject to FOISA and EIR?
Kingdom Housing Association is subject to both FOISA and EIR by virtue of the: Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (Designation of Persons as Scottish Public Authorities) Order 2019 (the “Order”).
The Order came into effect on 11 November 2019 and brought all Registered Social Landlords (“RSLs”) and certain RSL subsidiaries under the scope of FOISA and the EIR.
What is subject to FOISA and EIR?
In accordance with the terms of the Order, not everything that we do is subject to FOISA and EIR. Instead, we are only subject to these regimes in respect of certain functions, namely ‘housing services’ (as defined in s.165 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010) which Kingdom Housing Association carries out – subject to some restrictions. Looking at the definition of ‘housing services’ and the restrictions which are set out in the Order the following functions carried out by Kingdom Housing Association are covered by FOISA and EIR:
- the prevention and alleviation of homelessness
- the management of social housing accommodation
- the supply of information to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) by an RSL or a connected body (i.e. a subsidiary) in relation to its financial wellbeing and standards of governance.
What is the difference between FOISA and EIR?
EIR provides a right of access to ‘Environmental Information’ held by us . Environmental Information has a very wide definition which is set out in Regulations. Where a request under FOISA is received for Environmental Information it should be processed in accordance with EIR.
Whilst the obligations under FOISA and EIR are similar – there are some key differences that employees must be aware of when dealing with requests for information. Further guidance on the differences are available on SIC’s website.
What makes a Freedom of information request valid?
The request must:
- be in writing, this could be a letter or email or requests made via our website or social media.
- include the requester’s real name, a request can be made in the name of an organisation, or by one person on behalf of another, such as a solicitor on behalf of a client.
- include an address for correspondence, it does not need to be the person’s residential or work address – it can be any address at which you can write to them, including a postal address or email address.
- describe the information requested. Any genuine attempt to describe the information will be enough to trigger the Act.
Freedom of information requests can be made to anyone at Kingdom Housing association or by email to Kingdom@kingdomhousing.org.uk