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Defra Catchment Base Approach (CaBA): Monitoring and evaluation (Phase 2) and wider adoption of CaBA for the period 2013-15 - WT1559

In March 2011, the Government announced it would fundamentally review its river basin planning strategy in the context of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), with a new focus on institutional arrangements and processes. The launch of the pilot phase of the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) was introduced on World Water Day (2011) to “provide a clear understanding of the issues in the catchment, involve local communities in decision-making by sharing evidence, listening to their ideas, working out priorities for action and seeking to deliver integrated actions that address local issues in a cost effective way and protect local resources”.

A total of 25 catchment pilot partnerships were supported during this pilot phase (between mid-2011 and January 2013). The aim of the pilots was to test the longer term viability of the approach through developing a clear understanding of the issues in the catchment, involvement of local communities in decision-making by sharing evidence and to work out priorities for action. The pilots also looked for opportunities to better co-ordinate and integrate projects to address local issues in a more cost effective way. In addition, a further 38 catchment initiatives that had expressed an interest and received seed-corn funding from Defra were developed over this period.

Defra commissioned a consortium led by Cascade Consulting to undertake an evaluation of the pilot phase of the CaBA which concluded the initiative to have been largely successful with widespread agreement from regulators and stakeholder participants involved. Within a year, the pilots were able to generate a sense of partnership at the local level, leading (in most cases) to the production of viable catchment plans that were targeted towards delivery of WFD objectives as well as identifying a range of actions expected to a range of other benefits for other areas of water management (for example flood risk, water resources and biodiversity) as well as wider socio-economic benefits (for example, tourism, recreation and economic growth) for the local catchment communities.

A number of recommendations were made in the evaluation including the need to ensure continued monitoring and evaluation as the initiative moves from pilot phase to wider adoption across England from 2013.

Defra are now supporting the wider adoption of the CaBA across the 93 water management catchments covering England through provision of funding in 2013/14 to support the establishment of catchments partnerships and through establishment of a CaBA support group to steer and support the development of new capability and delivery mechanisms to facilitate local engagement around WFD and related delivery via these partnerships.
The broad options for continued monitoring and evaluation of the CaBA focus on i.) how effective the current funding and wider support has been in setting up and supporting cost-beneficial catchment partnerships; ii) identifying and disseminating successful and creative funding mechanisms generated by catchment partnerships; iii) developing a methodology for catchments to assess their own performance with stakeholders; iv) how the initiative is delivering in terms of the wider recommendations and aspirations set out in the pilot phase evaluation and Defra policy framework for wider adoption of the CaBA and the impact on the 2nd cycle of RBMPs.
The aim of this work it to evaluate the support and activities underpinning wider adoption of the Catchment Based Approach with a focus on the following specific objectives:
- Assessing the effectiveness of national funding and support structures in establishing representative partnerships that facilitate cost-effective measures in the 93 water management catchments covering England. This will include identifying and disseminating creative and successful funding mechanisms deployed by catchment partnerships
- Reviewing how the CaBA process is aligning with and informing the wider River Basin Planning Process leading to the production of second cycle River Basin Management Plans (RBMP’s)
- Assessing how effective the partnerships are in supporting wider community and public engagement and how the CaBA is providing a mechanism to better integrate decision making and ‘on the ground’ delivery in relation to water and the environment within a wider socio-economic context.
- Developing a methodology for catchments to evaluate their own success in delivering stakeholders’ aims in the short term. (This will link to an evaluation framework being developed separately to set and evaluate catchment partnerships ambitions in the longer term.)
- Assess how far Catchment Partnerships can support Water Companies’ objectives
- Gathering evidence and identifying good practice and lessons learnt emerging from the catchment partnerships to facilitate knowledge exchange and learning across catchments
- Estimating the additional uplift in actions secured as a result compared to the first cycle of RBMPs and their cost value to establish whether there is further scope for EA to outsource funded delivery of objectives to catchment partnerships to administer.
- Identifying additional support requirements and learning needs
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WT1559 Evaluation of the Catchment Based Approach Phase 2 Final report   (538k)
• ANX - Annex : WT1559 Evaluation of the Catchment Based Approach - Phase 2 Appendices   (3199k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : Defra CaBA Economic Assessment Final   (1100k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2015

Cost: £119,350
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Cascade Consulting
Water Quality