Updated Public Sector Cooperation Agreement now available

The Public Sector Cooperation Agreement (PSCA) provides arrangements for the Environment Agency (EA) and an Internal Drainage Board (IDB), Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), District Council (DC) or other Risk Management Authority (RMA) to deliver flood risk maintenance works and similar activities by a partnership approach. This is a major step forward in securing efficient work practices at a local level. The agreement places both parties on a sound legal basis to deliver work as agreed – either party may undertake work for the other.

The first PSCA was signed in October 2013. By February 2016, there were 45 PSCAs in place, comprising 42 between EA/IDBs, 1 between EA/County Council, 1 between District Council/EA, and 1 between Navigation Authority/IDBs. There are 25 others currently in development and EA intend to agree additional PSCAs where there are potential benefits.

Based on section 13(4) of the Floods and Water Management Act 2010, a PSCA can cover any maintenance or similar activity such as inspections, obstruction removal, weed control, grass cutting, tree work, vermin control, dredging, pump operation etc. It also provides for mutual RMA support in managing flood incidents. In some cases it can be used for capital asset improvement or replacement works.

The Benefits of PSCAs

  • Securing efficient local working arrangements which will achieve value for money in delivering operational maintenance activities.
  • Taking advantage of local skills and experience including local knowledge of geography, associated river/drainage systems and operational practices, to benefit local communities.
  • Sound legal basis for either party to undertake work for the other party, as agreed.
  • Having flexible partnership working arrangements. Agreements typically cover a period of up to 5 years, with annual reviews to discuss/agree the specific extent of activities to be carried out under the PSCA.
  • Standardised documents which are simple to apply to local needs.

Updated PSCA and User Guide
A fully updated version of the PSCA Agreement Template and User Guide were published in March 2016 by the Environment Agency and ADA. Newly created agreements will use the format of the new PSCA template. Existing agreements that are in place already will be varied to the new PSCA template format this summer to ensure national consistency, but can continue to be used until the variation occurs. The Environment Agency will be in touch with existing agreement partners shortly.

Changes in the updated documents include:

  • Documents now provide for EA/Local Authority agreements as well as EA/IDB agreements.
  • Now cover coastal / tidal as well as inland works with greater clarity
    Revised clauses in agreement template regarding insurance and indemnity
  • Schedule 3 added, to help clarify roles and responsibilities for specific items of work / activity undertaken under the PSCA.
  • User Guide extended to cover both setting up a PSCA and good practice in its use.

More Information
The documents are available from the downloads section of the ADA website and for EA staff on the EA Easinet pages.

For further information regarding PSCAs please contact Ian Russell (ian.russell@environment-agency.gov.uk), who can help set up new agreements and oversee the variations to existing PSCAs.

Download: PSCA Briefing Note (March 2016)
Download: PSCA Template (March 2016)
Download: PSCA User Guide (March 2016)