The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill also has its report stage in the Commons today.
We’ve circulated a briefing to MPs in support of New Clause 6 tabled by shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook MP and supported by Rebecca Long-Bailey and Caroline Lucas to bring housing associations under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Bill proposes a new and alternative ‘access to information scheme’ for social housing tenants. So far, details of how it will operate in practice are almost non-existent. It is not clear, for example:
- what the time limits for responding to requests will be
- who (if anyone), aside from tenants, will be able to make requests
- on what grounds registered providers will be able to refuse requests
- whether providers will have to disclose exempt information if the public interest justifies it, as happens under FOI.
A far more effective solution would be to bring social housing providers under the Freedom of Information Act. This has already been done in Scotland, where registered social landlords were brought under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act in November 2019.
We’ve just tweeted this thread https://twitter.com/CampaignFoI/status/1630874652284264448?s=20