The ADOC Boards are Independent Public Authorities with high standards of governance and accountability
The Boards work under a defined governance structure to ensure the decisions we make are in the best interests of the people that benefit or pay for the services we provide. We are custodians of public funds and property, so we strive to ensure that we achieve the best possible outcomes by improving our operations. The basis of our policies stem from legislation and a document approved by a Government Minister which sets out the Board’s rules of assembly; these are called the “Regulations as to Proceedings” but are more commonly called the “Standing Orders”.
Accountability, Audit and Regulation
The Boards comprise of members that are directly elected in a way similar to that for Ward Councillors, and members who are appointed by the Council and deemed suitably qualified to represent the interests of the Board. Board members regularly inspect the accounts and activity of the Board, usually at scheduled Board meetings. The Board can appoint a sub-committee to scrutinise matters in detail and/or authorise work and expenditure.
Audit & Regulation
The Boards are subject to an internal audit four times a year to test their systems and processes to ensure compliance with the law and best practice. The auditors are given unrestricted access to this process and the Boards must properly consider the recommendations of the internal auditor.
Every year an external government appointed Auditor undertakes sample testing of the Boards’ accounts and systems and makes recommendations that the Boards must properly consider.
The National Audit Office can scrutinise internal drainage boards and report the results to Parliament.
Other organisations that supervise and regulate internal drainage boards are:
Defra & Environment Agency
As non-departmental government bodies, drainage boards are sponsored by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This means that although drainage boards are quasi-autonomous from central government, the relevant minister can make decisions and determinations on the way the Boards operate. Defra collect data from Drainage Boards every year so they can best determine the way to make these type of decisions. The vehicle for this ‘Ministerial supervision’ of drainage boards is usually either directly through the offices of Defra or via the Environment Agency.
Local Government Ombudsman
The activities of Internal Drainage Boards are subject to review by the Local Government Ombudsman except in the case of private land matters or a matter that is under the purview of Defra (or the Environment Agency), or where matters are or may be referred to an agricultural land tribunal.