SC090019 - Developing a Tool and Guidance for Local Authorities to Record Assets Relating to All Sources of Local Flood Risk

Theme:Sustainable Asset Management
Project status:Completed
Start date:09/06/2009
End date:14/07/2011
  • Flood Defence


The Environment Agency, Defra and local authorities have worked together to address the Pitt Review’s recommendations about approaches to information sharing and gathering information on local drainage assets.

This work will provide support to those local authorities preparing for their new duties under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, in which lead authorities have responsibility to compile, and share, registers of structures or features that they consider to have a significant effect on flood risk in their area.

This project researched the current state-of-play across a range of organisations which have flood risk management responsibilities and either already maintain asset registers or are looking to begin their compilation.

It has looked at the type of information collected, the systems used to store it, how it is used, how it is shared and how often it is updated. It has looked at the degree of commonality and standardisation in data formats and systems used to hold the information.

It has also looked at what users would want of a generic IT system or ‘tool’ to assist them in compiling the registers, and what they would like and need in terms of guidance to begin this work. The research looks at three possible levels of tool development.

The research was supported by CLG, CIRIA, LGA and the AGI. With their assistance in publicising the work over 30% of all local authorities in England contributed to it by responding to a questionnaire or through direct consultation. The questionnaire also looked at the use of similar registers of coastal protection assets.

The results of the survey identified that there is a wide range in the approaches being taken among local authorities to the development of asset registers. Some users are already employing GIS technologies, others are working towards implementing such systems, while others still have no systems in place.

Where some local authorities are well advanced in their approach and population of local asset registers, others cite the lack of technical and staff resources as barriers to moving forward with their compilation, and would welcome clear guidance and support to enable them to progress this work.

It was found that generally where information is gathered it is largely done so on an ad hoc basis, with no formal use of data standards or generic database structures shared between organisations.
There is, however, a common recognition that a move to a standard, GIS-based approach to the creation of the asset register was a preferred approach by the majority of authorities who responded to the survey (representing 27% of all authorities.)
The first step to developing a common approach would require agreement between users of a common database structure, ensuring that asset information is recorded and described in the same way across different organisations. Work to develop some initial advice on how databases could be structured is now underway.

Some standardising of data formats and structures will allow information to be more easily shared and also establish clearer understanding of what the data represents between users in different organisations.

This database structure could be designed in such a way that the asset register can also serve as a register of Sustainable Drainage Systems.

The main recommendation of the work being taken forward is the provision of advice for a common data structure. This will enable local authorities to consider the benefits of this in the short term. If they can justify any future development of a GIS tool it may be promoted as a follow up phase or by groups of local authorities or in partnership with commercial organisations.