The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has published a report entitled Review of Internal Drainage Boards.
Over an eleven month period a panel appointed by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) considered the operations, governance and clerking arrangements of Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) within the county. The Panel met with representatives of IDBs from across the East Riding, the Environment Agency (EA) and ADA to gain a greater insight into the operations of IDBs and to understand the particular issues and challenges facing IDBs across the East Riding.
ADA received a copy of the draft report from ERYC in late September and ADA prepared a response to provide feedback to the Council on that draft report ahead of it being considered by the full Council on 11th October 2017, after which the final report was published. The Report contains eleven recommendations which are summarised in the table below.
Introducing the report Councillor Christopher Matthews, who chaired the Review Panel, stated:
“It is always a pleasure to work with people who genuinely want to help others to deliver an improved service and those associated with land drainage are no exception. IDBs are an important integral part of flood management. The districts they cover are by nature low lying and often the first part to flood. Balancing the needs to maintain the drainage capabilities and protect the environment within limited financial resources is very challenging.
“When the review commenced in October 2016 it quickly became apparent the complexity of the environment in which IDBs have to work. It was also apparent that the approach to flood risk management has moved on and there are many examples of good modern day working practices.
“This review has brought to the forefront some of the issues which, if addressed, will bring about improvements and efficiencies to the service.”
ADA very much welcomes the Council’s acknowledgment of the service provided by IDBs and their continued support of the work carried out by IDBs within the Council’s boundaries. ADA also welcomes the Council’s focus on IDB governance, financing, increasing public awareness and building working relationships.
The comments ADA raised are intended to assist ERYC in progressing solutions to some of the issues raised. ADA is happy to play an active part in helping actions progress in collaboration with all its members. In approximately a year’s time the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee will seek an update on progress made against the relevant recommendations.
|No.||Recommendation||Organisation to Action|
|1||That the Lead Local Flood Authority works with Defra agencies to develop a wide ranging licensing scheme for each internal drainage district with a form of standing advice.||ERYC|
|2||That ADA, in conjunction with the Lead Local Flood Authority, lobbies Defra to work with the EA in order that Public Sector Co-Operation Agreements can be extended for longer periods, subject to the appropriate funding.||ADA / ERYC|
|3||That ADA, in consultation with the Lead Local Flood Authority, supports very small IDBs to form consortia or amalgamate where appropriate.||ADA|
|4||That ADA, in consultation with the Lead Local Flood Authority, encourages IDBs to cap its membership at a maximum of 17 members where appropriate.||ADA|
|5||That, when vacancies [for appointed members] arise on an IDB, Democratic Services [of ERYC], on behalf of the Chief Executive, considers approaching town and parish councils to seek suitable local representation.||ERYC|
|6|| That the ADA, in consultation with the Lead Local Flood Authority, reviews the number of appointed
members on smaller IDBs.
|ADA / ERYC|
|7||That IDB members newly appointed by the Council be provided with a briefing regarding their role and remit on drainage boards and operations of IDBs and that appointed members be proactive in seeking an induction from the Clerk of their IDB.||ERYC|
|8||That the Lead Local Flood Authority liaise with the ADA in establishing a standard set of Key Performance Indicators for IDBs in order to encourage the sharing of good practice.||ERYC / ADA|
|9||That the Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee [of ERYC] undertake a rolling programme to receive IDBs’ annual reports and review vacancy levels.||ERYC|
|10||That IDBs, in conjunction with ERYC, raise their profile within their communities and demonstrate their operational spend and value for money of the levy placed on the Council and paid for by taxpayers.||IDBs|
|11||That IDBs and town and parish councils within known flood risk areas be encouraged to work together to form riparian owner working groups and raise awareness of riparian ownership.||IDBs / Town and Parish Councils|