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Background Info

I believe that all Housing Associations should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002. This would ensure that all Housing Associations are made open, transparent and accountable to all their stakeholders, i.e. tenants and factored homeowners.

All Housing Associations are considered by the European Union to be subject to Public Procurement (public bodies). For example, the European Union ruled some years ago that GHA Ltd. was a public body and had to abide by Public Procurement Procedures, as they had failed to do so when awarding work to one organisation. Therefore, since all Housing Associations are public bodies, they should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002.

The Social Housing Charter, implemented in April 2012, is insufficient in that it is only voluntary and not legally binding on Housing Associations. Being voluntary, the Charter is about what they should do and not what they must do. Therefore, all stakeholders would be best served by all Housing Associations coming under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

In more recent times, the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, when giving evidence to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee on an Order to extend the Act to cover other organisations, stated that "We will also want to hear wider stakeholder views in order to inform proposals relating to other bodies, with a view to extending coverage further in the future." Therefore, this Public Petition is being put forward as part of that process. It is in this context that I believe that all Housing Association stakeholders are entitled to all relevant information, as this can only be guaranteed through extending coverage of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to include all Housing Associations. In this way, all Housing Associations will be more accountable to their stakeholders.