Scottish Ministers (in other words, the Scottish Government) can bring organisations which appear to "exercise functions of a public nature" under the FOI Act. This is known as designation, and is carried out by issuing a statutory order under section 5 of the FOI Act.
Designations might focus on the function the organisation delivers, rather than the organisation as a whole. This means you would have rights to ask for information they hold about the function, but not all information held by the organisation.
If you're unsure, ask the body itself if it is covered. If you're still uncertain, you can contact us for advice.
A 2019 Order brought registered social landlords (housing associations) and many of their subsidiaries under FOI law from 11 November 2019.
The Order means that FOI rights apply to information held by registered social landlords and subsidiaries in relation to the following services:
- the prevention and alleviation of homelessness
- the management of social housing accommodation
- the provision and management of sites for gypsies and travellers
Information which is supplied to the Scottish Housing Regulator about financial well-being and standards of governance is also covered. Information relating to other services, such as the provision of services for owners and occupiers of houses (e.g. private factoring services) or the management of private or mid-market rental accommodation, isn't covered by FOI.
Private prisons, special schools, and others
A 2016 Order designated the following as being subject to FOI:
- Contractors who run privately managed prisons (such as HMP Addiewell and HMP Kilmarnock)
- Providers of secure accommodation
- Grant-aided schools
- Independent special schools
- Scottish Health and Innovations Ltd.
The Order came into force on 1 September 2016.
Local authority leisure and culture trusts
A 2013 Order designated leisure, sports and cultural trusts created by local authorities (for example, Edinburgh Leisure, Glasgow Life and Aberdeen Performing Arts). These bodies have been subject to FOI since 1 April 2014.