Research into the factors affecting IDB board membership and their impact on board governance

Research into the factors affecting IDB board membership and their impact on board governance

In 2018 Defra started a research project to investigate the factors affecting Internal Drainage Board (IDB) board membership and their impact on governance. The research involved a document review and scoping interviews, an online survey of all IDBs and qualitative interviews with 15 purposively sampled ‘case study’ IDBs.

The research details the challenges and successes for IDBs to establish and maintain a full spectrum of board membership, particularly local authorities’ appointed members and their role on the board. All IDB clerks were invited to join a dissemination event that took place at Defra’s offices in London on 3 June, which helped further refine the recommendations made by Defra’s consultants.

At the end of October, Defra published the final report from the research project. ADA would particularly like to draw IDB members’ attention to the recommendations in Section 4.3 on pages 53 and 54 of the report, and to read through the notes from IDB stakeholder workshop that start on page 70. The recommendations are summarised as follows:

  • Raising the profile of IDBs among councillors,
  • Use of non-councillors as appointed members,
  • Addressing skills gaps and ensuring diversity,
  • Clarification of the role of appointed members,
  • Appointed members’ induction and ongoing training,
  • Strengthening the role of AMs as facilitators of engagement between local authority and IDB,
  • Enabling participation – timing and scheduling of meetings,
  • Reporting on attendance,
  • Fewer members on boards,
  • Support in dealing with regulatory requirements.

ADA will be working with Defra, together with the Environment Agency and IDBs, to consider how best to implement and report on progress made by IDBs towards the recommended actions.