Coastal Partnerships and Forums
Coastal partnerships and other local initiatives undertake valuable work in bringing together different organisations and individuals with an interest in the coast, in forums where they can discuss solutions to coastal issues. Many of these initiatives are indicating that they are struggling, due to the ad hoc way in which they are established or supported, difficulties in securing adequate resources and in some cases engagement from certain bodies. We want to support these partnerships as far as we are able to do so and in the consultation proposed that we would:
Provide support for an annual partnership meeting aimed at bringing together coastal partnerships in England, to allow the communication of national policies, exchange of ideas and feedback to central government.
Explore ways in which we can support the need for improved co- ordination between coastal partnerships, to enable the sharing of best practice and experience.
Undertake a review of existing coastal forums, drawing on existing review material. This should address examples of current effectiveness and good practice, current funding sources, challenges faced by partnerships, and ways in which partnerships can operate with more stability.
Produce guidance on ICZM, based on the outcome of the above review.
Question 7: Do you have any views on the proposals in points (m) to (p), and on how we can support coastal partnerships?
Question 7 summary of responses Of the responses received, 67 addressed this question.
In general, the respondents recognised coastal partnerships as good vehicles for aiding and understanding the pressures on the coast and for providing a broad range of services, such as stakeholder engagement and raising awareness of coastal issues. However, there were suggestions that partnerships were working in a void and felt isolated – what they needed was a sense of strategic direction as this would improve the exchange of ideas and should improve individual and collective performance. It was also noted that at their best, partnerships were informative and have a strong advisory role, but at their worst, they could only be regarded as ‘talking shops’. It was also suggested that partnerships should be brought into line with the national vision for ICZM by providing guidance on structure with a statutory duty of care and involvement. Some respondents took a view that partnerships could be better organised and structured and that they needed to take a different approach as some of the more difficult issues which arise in the coastal area were not being properly addressed.
Most respondents acknowledged that partnerships could offer a range of services. Some respondents also noted that the most effective partnerships were those which were flexible and took responsive actions to problems in the coastal zone. However, some respondents noted that