Implementation of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009: report to the Scottish Parliament

Progress of work being carried out through the implementaion of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

7. Delivering Responsibilities Collectively

Responsibilities for flood risk management are divided between different organisations. Strong partnerships, founded on common aspirations, are needed to deliver coordinated or joint actions, aligned investment planning and efficient use of resources. Finding new ways to share skills, expertise and services is important to delivering partnership working.

7.1 The Scottish Advisory and Information Forum for Flooding

When the FRM Act came in to force, Scottish Ministers recognised that successful implementation relied upon the designated responsible authorities along with other relevant stakeholders working together to co-ordinate their actions. As a result the Scottish Advisory Implementation Forum for Flooding (SAIFF) was established to support organisations and stakeholders with an interest in flood risk management.

SAIFF comprises a series of working groups which are known as Task and Finish Groups, each with a specific remit. These groups are convened to help develop specific guidance or to undertake further analysis of important technical issues. The membership of these groups is made up of representatives from the areas of policy and implementation as well as technical experts.

7.2 Policy Management Group (PMG)

The PMG provides oversight and coordination across all working areas. The PMG meets on a quarterly basis and its principal purpose is to give strategic oversight and to provide a co-ordination role in relation to the other SAIFF groups. This involves establishing Task and Finish Groups, monitoring their progress against their objectives, signing off completed work such as guidance documents.

Membership consists of representatives from the Scottish Government, Scottish Water, the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, Heads of Planning Scotland, COSLA, SEPA, and the Chair of the Lead Local Authority Forum.

7.3 Lead Local Authority Forum (LLAF)

The LLAF shares good practice, exchanges information and addresses commons issues arising through the work of the Local Partnerships in Scotland. Membership includes Lead Local Authorities, Scottish Water, Scottish Government and SEPA.

7.4 Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) Flood Risk Group

The group is open to all 32 Scottish Local Authorities with membership extending to Scottish Government, COSLA, Scottish Water, SEPA, Emergency Resilience and Heads of Planning Scotland (HOPS). The group enables sharing of good practice, development of guidance, partnership working and dissemination of information relating to Flood Risk Management in Scotland.

7.5 National Flood Management Advisory Group (NFMAG)

This brings together a number of key organisations to consider the progress that is being made to implement flood management protocol and strategies.

7.6 Co-design and Co-delivery

SEPA have undertaken a number of partnership projects to support consumers, including community engagement and information initiatives, training packages and briefings including

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland

  • Featuring the Floodline service and flooding advice in Scotland's re-issued Scotland's Community Safety Booklet; and
  • Working with NWS groups in (particularly new) Flood Warning Areas to help improve local engagement and promote community understanding and uptake of the Floodline service.

Citizen's Advice Scotland

  • Development of a flooding assistance training package for advisors in Scotland's Citizen Advice Bureaux, to better reach those potentially at greater flooding disadvantage.

Association of British Insurers and other Representative Bodies

  • Briefings for staff. Topics include how commercial organisations can use the SEPA flood maps and other sources of information they can access, like the Scottish Flood Defence Asset Database (SFDAD).

7.7 Sharing Best Practice

The Scottish Government continues to fund an annual two day conference to bring Scotland's flood risk management community. This is a platform to exchange knowledge, share best practice and tools and explore issues common to those with duties in flooding and community engagement.

Scottish stakeholders also regularly organise and attend knowledge sharing events across the UK and beyond. For example, the SFF have forged close links with both the National Flood Forum in England, and the Irish National Flood Forum. The SFF presented at the Irish National Flood Forum's (INFF) conference in November 2017, and provided support for the Irish flooding minister during his visit to Scotland in December 2017.

The SFF arranged a study trip for the INFF in November 2018. The participants learned about the set up and governance of SFF and how it supports communities, to inform INFF's future business plan.

A photo of a group of visitors, hosted by the Tweed Forum.

The Tweed Forum has played host to a range of international practitioners, academics and politicians who have visited the Eddleston Water project sites to see the NFM measures and learn about the monitoring. This includes Mr Kevin Moran, Irish Minister of State for the office of Public Works, representatives from the Ukrainian State Emergency Services and staff from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

Delegates from the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference also visited the Eddleston project as well as partners from the EU Interreg Building with Nature project.

Following the winter floods of 2015/16 the Royal Society of Edinburgh held a conference that explored the science underpinning flood risk management in Scotland. The conference considered a series of questions including how we can improve flood risk management through a better understanding of climate change and extreme rainfall, how we can make our cities more resilient and how we can improve our flood warnings. Expert speakers gave presentations on topics ranging from extreme rainfall to flood insurance followed by a public event in the evening where a panel of experts debated various flooding issues with the audience.

7.8 Joint Training and Exercises

The Scottish Fire & Rescue incident and Police Scotland emergency procedures national training now includes a module delivered by SEPA on flood forecasting and warning

SEPA also participate in many joint training initiatives and exercises, to test and improve information sharing, procedures and activities between flooding responders.

Example: Inverness Flooding Exercise and Gates Closure Test

A three day joint workshop and flooding exercise between SEPA and Highland Council key personnel from community services and emergency planning departments. The exercise culminated in simulating a real time flood event from five days out up to the need for closure of all 12 flood gates.

A photo of one of Inverness’ flood gates, with some of the people involved in the joint training exercise


Email: Gordon Robertson

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