What are my rights?

You have the right to ask for any information held by a government department, local council or state school (knows as ‘public authorities’) under the Freedom of Information Act.

You also have the right to ask for environmental information (pollution levels, land development etc) under the Environmental Information Regulations.

What is changing?

Housing Associations were not originally included under the Freedom of Information law, but this is changing from 11 November. This means that you will then have the right to ask Muirhouse Housing Association for information. We will also have to:

Publish certain information on our website and give you a guide to what information we hold.
You can read more about what we publish and why in our publication scheme here

Respond to requests for information.

Why is the Freedom of information Act important?

It’s important because it encourages organisations to be more open and accountable to the people who they provide a service for. It improves the public faith and confidence in the organisations who make decisions that affect their lives.

What information can I ask for?

You can ask for any information that you think MHA may hold. That includes information held on computers, in emails and in printed or handwritten documents as well as images, videos and recordings.

You don’t have to say why you want the information but if you are happy to do so it may help you get you what you want more easily.

Will I get everything I ask for?

The law says some types of information may not be given to you for example because it would unfairly reveal personal details about somebody else. We will always try to be as reasonable and helpful as possible and explain why we cannot give the information. If you disagree, you have the right to ask us for a review of our decision and you then have the right to ask us for a review of our decision and you then have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

What should I do before I make a request?

Before you make a request, it may help to consider the following questions:

If the information you want already available on our website?

Is the information you want your own personal data? if your request is for information about yourself, you should make a subject request under the Data Protection Act.

Is the information you want suitable for general publication? You can only get information that would be given to anybody who asked for it or it would be suitable for the general public to see.

What if I’m not sure?

If your not sure you can ask us to help you describe the information you are looking for more clearly and in more detail. We can explain what kinds of information we have and how we keep it. If we don’t have the information you want, we may be able to tell you which organisation could provide it.

How do I make a request?

For your request to be dealt with according to the Freedom of Information Act, you must:

Contact us directly

Make the request in writing, for example in a letter or an email.

Give your real name

Give an address for us to reply. This can be a postal or email address.

Can MHA charge for a request?

Yes, we can charge for the costs of sending the information, such as photocopying and postage.

What happens after I make a request?

We must reply to you within 20 working days. We may:

Give you the information youve asked for

Tell you we don’t have the information

Tell you that another authority holds the information or transfer the request on your behalf

Refuse to give you the information and explain why.

Where can I get the information?

Find information about your rights and the law on the Scottish Information Commissioners  website:  http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/ScottishInformationCommissioner.aspx

Find out all about MHA and our ‘Guide to information on our website:  http://www.muirhouseha.org.uk/

If you have any enquiries about the Act or would like to make a request, then please contact Ainan Groat on info@muirhouseha.org.uk or 0131 336 5282.