Governance and accountability

Good governance, accountability and transparency are a cornerstone of providing modern, fit for purpose public services, such as flood and water level management.

Those who are responsible for the conduct of public business and for spending public money are accountable for ensuring both that public business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively.

ADA has worked with internal drainage boards (IDBs) and Defra to develop a suite of governance documents to assist IDBs with putting in place good governance arrangements and maintaining them. Click on the links to the right for access to these documents.


Auditor Appointment

Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA) appoints auditors under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, to all local government smaller authorities, including IDBs, who are subject to the limited assurance regime. The regime is designed to provide a level of assurance at a cost proportionate to the amounts of public money managed by these smaller authorities.

Further information about limited assurance procedures is available from PKF Littlejohn LLP who was appointed as the external auditor to IDBs by SAAA for five years from 2017/18.


JPAG Practitioners’ Guide

To help IDBs report on their finance and governance ADA has jointly published the Practitioners’ Guide with the Society of Local Council Clerks and the National Association of Local Councils.

Read the Practitioners’ Guide

The guide is intended as a working tool for smaller authorities, providing not only the common rules for completing an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for use by responsible financial officers, but also as a reference work for auditors, both internal and external, members, other officers and the public to aid understanding of the AGAR and the reporting on the smaller authority’s governance and finances within it.

The Practitioners’ Guide is issued by the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG) to support the preparation by smaller authorities in England of statutory annual accounting and governance statements found in the AGAR. ADA is a key member of JPAG.

This 2018 edition of the guide applies in respect of financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2018. As there have been no material changes to the guidance, simply clarification of proper practices, it can be applied to AGARs covering the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.


Annual Return

All smaller authorities, including IDBs, must complete and approve an Annual Return, now known as the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR). The different parts of the AGAR are available for download below. The following flowchart guides IDBs to the part of the AGAR they should complete and sumarises the relevant documents they need to submit, dependent on their circumstances.

AGAR Decision Flowchart

For smaller authorities with no annual income or expenditure.

For smaller authorities certifying themselves as exempt from review.

For smaller authorities subject to a limited assurance review.