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Freedom of Information

Trust is committed to being transparent and open by providing the public with information about who we are and how we operate.

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 aims to increase transparency and openness by granting the public the right to access information about Scottish public authorities. In 2019 the definition of Scottish public authority was broadened to include all Registered Social Landlords in Scotland, including Trust. 

The Act grants the public the right to access recorded information held by Trust and, apart from where a specific exemption applies, Trust must comply and supply the information within 20 working days. It is permissible to ‘stop the clock’ on that 20 working day period should the nature of the request need clarification or should a fee be charged for the provision of information.

The categories of information you can ask Trust for include:

  • Who we are and what we do.  
  • What we spend and how we spend it.  
  • What our priorities are and how we are achieving them. 
  • How we make decisions.  
  • Our policies and procedures. 
  • Lists and registers.   
  • The services we offer 

Model Publication Scheme 

Trust has adopted the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme, which requires us to:

  • Proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information that is held by Trust
  • To specify what information is held by Trust and published as part of the scheme
  • To publish the methods by which information can be accessed by the public
  • To regularly review and update the information made available under the scheme
  • To publish guidance on the fees charged for accessing information
  • To ensure that the scheme is available to all members of the public
  • To publish any datasets held by Trust.

Trust makes a large amount of information available to the public on our website and that information can also be accessed in person at our Head Office. Before making a request for information you should check our Guide to Information to see if the information is already published on our website.

Guide to Information

Please read our Guide to Information document for further guidance on what information is available.   

Other ways of accessing published information

Any member of the public, or organisation, who wishes to access the information published through the Model Publication Scheme but cannot, or chooses not to, access it either on our website or by attending our Head Office in person, can request that information be provided in hard copy format. Requests must:

  • Be in writing or some other permanent form (e.g. e-mail or recorded message);
  • State the applicant’s name and address;
  • Tell us what format you’d like the information in;
  • Describe what information is required.

It is not mandatory, but it can also help to include contact information to allow us to contact you in the event that we require to clarify any aspect of your request.

Requests should be sent to: 

Freedom of Information
Trust Housing Association Ltd
12 New Mart Road
Edinburgh
EH14 1RL 

Or emailed to:
foi@trustha.org.uk

Fees 

Trust may charge for providing information in hard copy format, but we will not charge any more than it has cost us to provide the information (e.g. photocopying and postage). We will always advise you of the fee ahead of time and the information will be provided on receipt of payment.

Trust does not pass on any other costs associated with the creation of the information, or any form of premium for provision of the information. Full details of how we calculate our fees is given in our Guide to Information.

Requesting Unpublished Information

Any individual or organisation can make a request for information held by Trust, that is not published routinely as part of the Model Publication Scheme. Requesters will be entitled to receive it, provided no exemptions apply. Requests must:

  • Be in writing or some other permanent form (e.g. e-mail or recorded message);
  • State the applicant’s name and address;
  • Tell us what format you’d like the information in;
  • Describe what information is required.

It is not mandatory, but it can also help to include contact information to allow us to contact you in the event that we require to clarify any aspect of your request.

Requests should be sent to:

Freedom of Information
Trust Housing Association Ltd
12 New Mart Road
Edinburgh
EH14 1RL 

Or emailed to:
foi@trustha.org.uk 

Fees

The Act allows Trust to charge a fee for the provision of the requested information. There are however no set fees, the fee is based on the costs incurred in the gathering and provision of the information. Costs will include photocopying/printing, postage and staff’s time. Charges for staff time are calculated per member of staff involved, per hour of their time required, based on their hourly salaried rate (this is capped at £15 per hour). 

If the total costs come to less than £100 we will not charge a fee.
If the total costs are between £100 and £600 we will charge 10% of the total cost.
If the total costs are greater than £600 then that would constitute a basis to deny the FOI request.
However, rather than flatly saying no, we will advise the requester of ways they can amend their request to reduce the cost incurred by Trust.

If a fee applies we will issue a fee note and on receipt of the payment we will provide the information within 20 working days.

Exemptions

Certain information is exempt and cannot be disclosed in response to a request. For example, personal data or information that is commercially sensitive.  If information you have requested is exempt from release, we will explain why and notify you of your rights to appeal. 

Copyright

Where Trust holds the copyright in its published information, the information may be copied or reproduced without formal permission, provided that:

  • It is copied or reproduced accurately
  • It is not used in a misleading context, and
  • The source of the material is acknowledged

Where Trust does not hold copyright in information we publish, we will make this clear.

 

Your Right to Appeal

If you are dissatisfied with how Trust has handled your request for information, you have the right to ask that your request be reviewed. If after reviewing you are still dissatisfied with how your request has been handled you can contact the Scottish Information Commissioner. 

The Commissioner is the independent public body that monitors and ensures Scottish public authorities’ compliance with the Act. You can find out more about the Scottish Information Commissioner by visiting their website.

The Commissioner can be contacted at: 

Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS
Tel: 01334 464610

Environmental Information

Similar to Freedom of Information, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulation 2004 grants the public the right to request access to Environmental Information held by Trust. Environmental Information is defined in the regulation as the information relating to the following: 

  • the state of elements of the environment and their interaction (air, water, soil, land and landscape, natural sites, flora and fauna)
  • discharges, emissions, noise, radiation, waste
  • measures and activities affecting the environment (such as policies, legislation, plans, activities)
  • reports on implementation of environmental legislation
  • cost benefit and economic analysis
  • effects of the environment on conditions of human life (including floods and buildings)

Charges

Trust may charge for providing Environmental Information, but we will not charge any more than it has cost us to provide the information. We will always advise you of the fee ahead of time and the information will be provided on receipt of payment.

Trust does not pass on any other costs associated with the creation of the information, or any form of premium for provision of the information. The charge will be based on the cost of staff time to locate and provide the information, printing and postage costs.

Unlike FOI there is no specific upper limit to the amount we can charge and there is no cap on the hourly rate charged for staff time. The cost of staff time will be based on the actual hourly rate of pay of the staff who carry out the work.

The charge for printing and postage will be calculated in the same manner as detailed in our Guide to Information. 

How to make a request

Requests for Environmental Information can be made in the same manner as a Freedom of Information request

Email: foi@trustha.org.uk

Post: Data Protection Officer, Trust Housing Association Ltd, 12 New Mart Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1RL

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulation unlike FOISA allows for Environmental Information requests to be made verbally. To make a verbal request please call us on: 0131 444 1200

Any verbal requests for information that does not meet the definition provided above of Environmental Information, will not be processed.

Useful resources   

You can review the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulation 2004 here.

The Scottish Information Commissioner also provides guidance regarding your right to access Environmental Information here.