Governance and accountability

Water governance

Integrity, transparency, accountability, and sound financial management are cornerstones of delivering flood and water level management as a modern, well governed, public service.

Good Governance for Internal Drainage Board Members

A comprehensive guide to the role and functions of Internal Drainage Board (IDB) members as local water managers serving their community, economy and landscape.

Successful IDBs are built upon active, interested and committed people with local and relevant knowledge. This guide will help them to expand their knowledge of the rules, practices, and processes involved in being an IDB member, building their confidence in this important role. In turn this knowledge will enable them to engage with others in a positive and proactive way that will make a positive difference for their local community and water landscape.

Download the guide



Engaging in learning, training and development will help IDB members build confidence in their role. In March and April 2019 ADA will be running a series of five Good Governance Workshops for IDB Members. If you are an IDB Member, engaging in learning, training and development will build your confidence in that role. IDBs can find out more, and book places from the link below.

IDB Governance Workshops

Accounts and audit

Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR)

All smaller authorities, including IDBs, must complete and approve an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) to communicate their financial, operational, and administrative position. It is the principle means through which each IDB is held accountable.

An AGAR consists of three sections: an Annual Governance Statement, Accounting Statements, and where relevant, the external auditors report and certificate. The following flowchart guides IDBs to the part of the AGAR that they should download and complete. It also sumarises the relevant documents they need to submit, dependent on their circumstances.

AGAR Decision Flowchart


AGAR Forms 2017/18

Part 1 | For smaller authorities with no annual income or expenditure.

Part 2 | For smaller authorities certifying themselves as exempt from review.

Part 3 | For smaller authorities subject to a limited assurance review.

JPAG Practitioners' Guide

The Practitioners’ Guide is designed to support the preparation by smaller authorities in England, including IDBs, of statutory annual accounting and governance statements found in the AGAR. It is intended as a working tool for use by Responsible Financial Officers (RFOs), but also as a reference for auditors, board members, other officers, and the public.

The Practitioners’ Guide is issued by the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG), and jointly published by ADA, the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

Read the Practitioners’ Guide


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.

Auditor appointment

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

Visit the SAAA website


Further information about limited assurance procedures is available from PKF Littlejohn LLP who were appointed as the external auditor to IDBs by SAAA. This appointment began in 2017/18 and is set to run for five years.