Evaluation of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities

Determining whether change was needed to the way IFCAs operate and identifying best practice

IFCAs have been fully operational in England since April 2011. They have undergone two statutory consultations covering conduct and operation, but no independent evaluation of IFCAs had been undertaken.

To determine whether any change was needed to the way that IFCAs operate and to identify and share individual IFCA best practice, ABPmer worked with RPA Ltd to carry out an independent review.

This comprehensive review evaluated whether IFCAs are delivering on the vision set for them, their structures and capabilities, collaborative working practices, communications, processes and impacts of byelaw creation, and activities and work programmes.

An evaluation framework was adopted that used soft system modelling and described each IFCA in terms of its Customers, Agents, Transformation, Worldview, Owner and Environment (CATWOE). High-level and local-level analysis was carried out through reviews of documentation, key informant interviews and focus groups.

It was particularly timely to undertake such a study given the changes that fisheries and marine management is currently underway with the UK’s exit from the EU and its common fisheries policy.

The findings of the evaluation are being used to inform how IFCAs may help deliver the provisions set out in the Fisheries Bill as well as their future role as the UK becomes an independent coastal state.