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Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) are local public bodies responsible for land drainage in areas of special drainage need. Their main focus historically was drainage of agricultural land, but they have evolved to play a much wider role, contributing to flood risk management for homes, businesses and infrastructure, and protecting and enhancing biodiversity. However, there is currently no consistent method for assessing the benefits that IDB activities provide. Furthermore, although individual IDBs may report aspects of their performance, there is no set list of indicators which IDBs can use to demonstrate the value of their work to the local community or to their ratepayers. Thus, this research aimed to establish methods and tools to enable IDBs to identify the beneficiaries of their work. It also considered how these benefits could be quantified, thus improving the line of sight between income and expenditure.

The objectives of the research were:

  • Objective 1: to develop tools or methods to identify the range of beneficiaries of IDB activity, and quantify (quantitatively wherever possible or qualitatively if not) those benefits in order to support IDBs in providing relevant information to local communities and to help inform further policy development on IDB boundaries and setting up new IDBs; and
  • Objective 2: to develop a set of indicators to help IDBs demonstrate the value they provide to local communities and others, and to help achieve greater accountability and efficiency. Also, to establish whether local communities could benchmark IDBs against other bodies of similar size and/or performing similar roles.

The full report is available on Defra's website here.

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