Memorandum by the Department
for Education and Employment
(NO. 3) REGULATIONS
1997 (S.I. 1997/2816)
By letter dated 17 December 1997
to Department's Legal Adviser, the Joint Committee have requested
a memorandum on the following point:
"By the new regulation
13(6), the information about the performance of primary schools
required of local education authorities is to be published to
the specified recipients in most cases by providing copy documents
or, in the case of a local newspaper, by providing a copy document
or a computer disk. Explain why, in the case
of the provision of the information to the Department for Education,
it is to be by copies of a document and a computer disk".
1. New regulation 13(6)(b)(i)
of the Education (School Performance Information) (England) (Amendment)
(No. 3) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 1997/2816) requires the provision
by a local education authority of three copies of the document
and a computer disk containing the relevant information
to the Secretary of State. The requirement is in these terms
because the Secretary of State wants to make the information published
by each of the one hundred and thirty-two local education authorities
in England available on the Internet and for reference in the
libraries of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The
computer disk is required to facilitate the transfer of the information
to the Internet. Two of the three copies of the document are
required for the library of each House because the libraries ask
for printed copies of the publications.
2. The remaining copy of the
document provides a visual reference for the Secretary of State
as to what has been published in document form. Moreover, the
information on the computer disk may not be identical to that
in the document. One may contain additional information, over
and above that required by the Regulations, to that contained
in the other. For that reason, the Secretary of State require
both computer disk and copy document containing the information
so as to see all that is published.
3. As regards the choice of providing
copies of the document or a computer disk to local newspapers,
it is considered that one or other is sufficient for the newspapers'
purposes. In practice, it is likely that a request will be made
by the local newspaper to the local education authority for one
or the other. In relation to publication of school performance
information by the Secretary of State, newspapers have sought
computer disk information rather than copies of the document itself.
They are likely to prefer, and be able to make greater use of,
the flexibility allowed by computer access to the information.
4. It is not considered that
local newspapers are disadvantaged in this in any way. In any
event, a local education authority would be free to give both
copies of the document and a computer disk containing the information
to a local newspaper if it so wished.
6th January 1998