Blog Beyond the Pillars, which covers issues involving the North Ireland government, used FOI recently to find out how many homes owned by the NI Housing Executive – in other words, council homes – had asbestos in them. The answer: 70,000. 70,000! Three-fifths of publicly-owned homes, in other words.
Trying to get this information in England, for example, would be much harder, because Housing Associations remain outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, despite the fact that most of them were created out of old housing departments within councils.
There has been talk of including Housing Associations under the scope of FOI – but little action.
Also the Information Commissioner has ruled that Housing Associations are subject to the Environmental Information Regulations.
Based on the above, then surely the BTP FOI request is one worth trying with Housing Associations across the rest of the UK?