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The Board is an Independent Public Authority that aspires to the highest possible standards of governance and accountability

The Board works 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 through constant improvement we strive to ensure we achieve the best possible outcomes. The basis of our policies stem from legislation (a Statutory Order) and a document approved by a Government Minister which sets out the Board’s rules of assembly, known as ‘Standing Orders’. A copy of these can be found below. Our suite of policies can be found in the Resources section.

Although the Board has a governance structure, with changes in legislation, finance, procurement and Britain’s exit from the European Union, its members have decided to press ahead with an ambitious business plan called the Corporate Strategy.

The Corporate Strategy (which can be found below) sets out the Board’s priorities (Key Priorities) and importantly, a detailed monitoring framework (Measures) which over time will allow Board Members, rate payers, our regulators, partners and stakeholders to assess our performance. This was adopted by the Board in February 2018.

Key Priorities

Ouse and Humber Drainage Board Key Priorities

  1. Reduce the risk of flooding and improve the drainage network within the district to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, whilst conserving and enhancing the natural environment in line with current legislation.
  2. Identify and pursue transformation projects that will modernise and improve the efficiency of the Board’s operations and working environment.
  3. Invest in the Board’s people, promote a safe working environment and support initiatives that will improve productivity and help secure succession planning for the Board.
  4. Identify opportunities to expand the Board’s area and provide professional services for partner authorities, where there is a clear benefit to the OHDB.
  5. Seek maximum budget efficiencies, optimising and protecting the Board’s revenue, reinvesting savings in front-line services and future capital investment.
  6. Pursue a robust medium-term approach to managing the Board’s drainage network.
  7. Develop and deliver a coordinated programme of capital investment to upgrade existing and construct new assets, maximising funding from external sources.
  8. Adhere to the Board’s governance arrangements to ensure appropriate accountability and transparency of the Board’s decisions and conduct, and review them at timely intervals.
  9. Develop a robust policy to respond to applications for new development, to reduce the impact of flooding on the Board’s assets and the community.
  10. Communicate and engage with stakeholders in a timely and professional manner.

Accountability, Audit and Regulation


Officers are accountable to 23 Board Members. 11 of these are directly elected in a way similar to that for Ward Councillors. 12 of our members are appointed by the Council, who must be 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 Board is subject to an internal audit 4 times a year to test the Board’s systems and processes to ensure compliance with the law and best practice. Officers of the Board must give unrestricted access to this process and the Board must properly consider the recommendations of the internal auditor.

Every year an external government appointed Auditor undertakes sample testing of the Board’s accounts and systems and makes recommendations that the Board must properly consider.

The National Audit Office can scrutinise internal drainage boards and report the results Parliament.

Other organisations that supervise and regulate internal drainage boards are:

Defra & Environment Agency

The Board is a non-departmental government body that is sponsored by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This means that although we are quasi-autonomous from central government, the relevant minister can make decisions and determinations on the way the Board operates. 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, 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.