The Scottish Government consulted on proposals to extend coverage of the Act to Registered Social Landlords from 1 April 2018. However, this timescale was considered too short and unrealistic by those organisations most directly affected by the proposed order - the RSLs (especially in context of these bodies also preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, effective from 25 May 2018).
We also note the concerns expressed by the Scottish Information Commissioner in not allowing sufficient time for preparation in the event of an order being approved.
It is clearly in the interests of applicant, authority and regulator that sufficient preparation time is allowed prior to commencement of the proposed order. This view is also informed by the experience of previous such orders - including that which came into force on 1 September 2016 - which clearly indicated that the better the preparation the more effective was the implementation.
We therefore now propose a commencement date of 1 April 2019.
While acknowledging that this may result in a period of time when RSLs might not be subject to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 we consider that it is in the longer term interests of all parties concerned that sufficient time is allowed for adequate preparation for designation. We would also encourage RSLs to continue to respond to requests for information - environmental or otherwise - as helpfully and timeously as possible.
We would propose to review the impact of the order one year after commencement.