Innes Thomson – Branches, Boards and Best Practice

Innes Thomson – Branches, Boards and Best Practice

Image: Careful watercourse management in East Lincolnshire


Please don’t feel that these scribblings are a one-way line of communication. I would be delighted to receive your thoughts and comments back into us at ADA so we can do our job better for you as members. Instead of bombarding you on a weekly basis, it is probably more reasonable to provide you with my thoughts and comments every fortnight. What do you think?

The last two weeks have seen a number of meetings and subjects which I would like to highlight to you, the first being our routine planning meeting for FLOODEX UK 2017 which is coming together very well. We have good commitment from exhibitors so far and even better news on the plans for increasing the footfall of visitors at this year’s event. As well as an excellent line-up of seminar speakers, we will also be providing health & safety training on both days, particularly tailored for IDB operations teams and Board members so have a think about who you might like to send to FLOODEX to benefit from free CPD and a visit to the event at the same time.

I also took time out to attend the Vale of Pickering IDB’s Board meeting and it was wonderfully refreshing to see how the efficiency and effectiveness of a small Board of 9 people can provide just the strategic leadership and governance needed. The meeting also invited the EA and Local Authority to share their engagements with the IDB and it was very clear that partnership collaboration is working very well in the Vale of Pickering.

One of ADA’s three Board meetings per year took place earlier this week and we operated to a shorter but more action-driven agenda. Strategic direction was very much the ask of the Board and they provided that by advising on the budget for the year, signing off the new business plan (subject to a few last tweaks), and providing guidance and advice on our interaction with Defra and government in general. The good news is that the ADA ship is sailing a steady course. The cautionary note is that we all need to do more to uphold the values of our industry and show government the real value of what our members do and the way that they do it. I mentioned in my last blog that we will need to reflect on the sizes of our Internal Drainage Boards and their governance. I now know that with the publication of a report from the National Audit Office looming about this, I ask you all to assist ADA in taking a pro-active, pre-emptive approach to help us persuade Ministers of our good intentions.

We also have our new ADA Marches Branch starting to take shape, to cover the Welsh borders and upper Severn area and I look forward to helping them grow and embrace our wider membership, as well as engaging with adjacent Branches. On the subject of engaging with adjacent Branches, congratulations to Welland & Nene and Lincolnshire Branches for their excellent joint meeting at Holbeach recently which was a really good example of people coming together to  exchange views and discuss common themes together. From that meeting many thanks to Peter Pridgeon who stands down as their nominated Director to ADA’s Board and a very warm welcome to Keith Casswell, Chairman of Black Sluice IDB, who takes his place.

And to end on a lighter note, and for the creative amongst you, why not have a go at writing a limerick about your local river. Here’s the latest one I tweeted about the Steeping River in East Lincolnshire;

                     Now another old lady called Steeping

                     Has recently seen too much weeping

                               From locals and press

                                And badger-dig mess

                     It’s now just in need of good keeping