IDB1 Hints and Tips

IDB1 Hints and Tips

The 2019-2020 IDB1 form has now been issued by DEFRA for completion by September 2020. The data submitted through the IDB1 is being analysed now more than ever, not only by DEFRA but by a wide range of stakeholders and audiences due to the public accessibility of the data. This data interrogation is expected to increase in the future, through the enactment of the Environment Bill later this year and more widely as highlighted this week in the publication of the EA’s FCERM policy statement:

“We will continue to evaluate progress on Internal Drainage Board governance to consider if actions to date have been effective and if further action is needed.”
“We will support the Association of Drainage Authorities to provide guidance for Internal Drainage Boards on environmental responsibilities and duties.”

The full document can be found here

For these reasons, accuracy, consistency and completeness is key. To help with this, we have compiled a list of hints and tips for IDB1 completion below which you may find useful.



Higher Land Contribution: (and EA Precept in expenditure) Often netted-off when paid but the gross figures for each should be quoted in the relevant areas, not the net figure received.

Government Grants: Ensure that any grant income is not double counted by only including it in the Government Grants box in the INCOME section OR the Grant income not applied in year box in the EXCEPTIONAL ITEMS section, not both.



Biodiversity: Figure should include some background support costs. For example, an IDB could charge a % of a Chief engineers or Foreman’s salary in line with the amount of time they spend on planning, undertaking and reporting biodiversity support such as actions specified in an IDB’s biodiversity action plan. Below is a list of some other activities which could be allocated to biodiversity:

  • Bat/owl/snake boxes, otter holts, eel passes
  • Difference in cost between a standard and biodiversity-supporting option such as fish-friendly pump or diverse seed mixes.
  • Staff/contractor time spent on biodiversity training or obtaining licenses
  • Directly employed or contracted ecologist employment and resource costs
  • Oxygenation and salinization testing, equipment and time
  • Staff time spent participating in local or national environmental/conservation groups
  • All time spent on delivering actions set out in the Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Cost of removing cuttings by conveyer for conservation purposes

Cross-check: Have the previous years’ IDB1 form to hand to cross-check each of the entries. There are a number of ways to calculate some of the figures requested, particularly in expenditure, but consistency across periods is important. A comparison to the previous IDB1 may uncover a large movement between 2 figures across the periods which, if not explained otherwise, may be down to a difference in the way it has been calculated.



Policy Statement: 21% of IDB’s stated in 2017-2018 that they either did not have a policy statement or had not made it available. ADA has developed a Policy statement template which is available to download at the following link.

There is likely to be opportunity for a Policy statement to be developed or reviewed and presented to the board for sign-off ahead of the September IDB1 submission deadline. Ensure that an up to date copy has been sent to DEFRA and the EA. This would demonstrate an improvement in conformity, a positive point for the sector.

Data available on-line: There is opportunity for each IDB to review their current on-line data availability prior to the September IDB1 submission deadline and bring it up-to-date. A list of the data which the IDB1 indicates should be available on-line is as follows:

An IDB website containing:

  • Policy Statement
  • Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Biodiversity Action Plan progress
  • Board membership details
  • Audited accounts (AGAR)
  • Programmes of work and adopted approaches to maintenance
  • WLMP’s
  • Board Meeting minutes
  • Contact details Complaints procedure on the front page

There are many IDB websites which can be visited for examples on how to provide this data. An improvement in the availability of on-line data relating to specific IDBs and their operations during this IDB1 reporting period will reflect well on the sector.

Cumulative total of identified watercourse: Take care that this figure is correct and is in KM even if it is copied from the previous years’ submission. It is an important figure used in the calculation of a range of data.

Cumulative design capacity of a Boards’ pumping stations: Please enter the figure in CUBIC METRES PER SECOND (cumecs) for accuracy.

Thank-you for your efforts to ensure sector data maintains integrity.