Governing bodies are now required to publish information about governors on websites. This is in the interest of transparency. Statutory Guidance published on 14th August 2015 states (para 25) that
Governors hold an important public office and their identity should be known to their school and wider communities. In the interests of transparency, a governing body should publish on its website up-to-date details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible form.
The footnote states that readily accessible means the information should be on a webpage without the3 need to download or open a separate document.
The Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) states that
2.5.2 In the interest of transparency, an academy trust must publish on its website up-to-details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible format.
As far as I can see the AFH does not specify what is meant by “readily accessible format”.
This has led to a great deal of discussion on Twitter. Shena Lewington has found very few examples of information about governance arrangements published as webpages (see her Hall of Fame). Many of us felt that publishing information as a PDF should be allowed as Adobe is a free programme and widely used, information can be easily downloaded and printed if people wanted to do that. If the thinking behind asking for this to be published as a web page was that data could be harvested, then it was pointed out that a standard format would be needed in order to do that.
Sean Harford clarified that Ofsted will not downgrade schools if they had the required information as a PDF.
I decided to ask Department For Education directly if PDF would be acceptable.
This morning they tweeted a reply which says
This has made me very happy. This makes it easy for clerks or website administrators to publish information easily. It also means that those who don’t have the information as a web page (which as Shena found are the majority) can breathe again.
I will end by thanking the Department for reducing the burden on governors and for replying to my query so promptly.
Update: The Department subsequently said that pdf is not an accessible format so information cannnot be uploaded as a pdf.