Building on our track record of research into the functioning of flood risk management in England, CAG have been appointed by Defra to carry out research into governance and accountability issues in Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs).

IDBs are independent statutory public bodies that are locally operated and mainly funded by the local beneficiaries of their work; they receive special levies from unitary and district local authorities and drainage rates paid by farmers.  Their boards are composed of members appointed by special levy paying local authorities and elected members representing drainage rate payers (farmers).

IDBs should be fully accountable to the communities they serve, and able to demonstrate that they are well governed, representative of local interests and offer value for money. However, a National Audit Office report on IDBs published in March 2017[1] suggests that opportunities exist to strengthen IDB governance and accountability (in at least cases), and to improve the overall framework for holding IDBs to account.

The aims of this research are to:

  1. Identify and assess how local authorities can support greater Internal Drainage Boards (IDB) accountability via their role in appointing IDB board members
  2. Understand the factors which influence IDB governance and in particular boards having a wide and diverse membership with active engagement by members

The research will take place over the coming months, with a final report due to Defra in March 2019.

For further information about the research, contact CAG Partner Bill Kirkup, 07766 500 054,


Oct 19, 2018