CaBA Partnership Support Guidance

Type: Technical Support & Training

Globally unique in its national coverage, the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) encompasses 106 river catchment partnerships that incorporate a range of cross-sector partner organisations to build social capital and deliver environmental improvements.

CaBA partnerships, as they evolve, commonly identify areas for improvement whether that be a technical issue such as water quality monitoring or data analysis, or an issue of Governance, partnership diversity or stakeholder engagement. On occasion, partnership hosts may decide to give up the host role, necessitating that a new organisation take over.

The CaBA National Support Group (NSG) has developed this brief guide to assist CaBA partnerships to address both these situations.

If support is needed regarding development or hosting, please email

a) Partnerships that identify an area for improvement

A partnership may identify an issue that requires attention in order to improve one or more aspects of their collaborative delivery. This identification may arise through several mechanisms, including through developing their catchment plan; aiming to fulfil the National Success Measures; working through the Self-assessment tool; or completing the CaBA benefits assessment.

Regardless of the issue(s) identified, CaBA Partnerships are encouraged – at an early stage – to contact the NSG who will ensure that the appropriate support is provided. Where an issue of conflict is identified, the NSG may seek to involve independent experts.

If you need any further support, please get in touch:

b) Changing Host

When changing host, the optimum outcome is that all partner organisations are supportive of the newly appointed host organisation and that the partnership continues to progress. The NSG’s preferred approach, therefore, is that the partnership themselves identify and appoint the new host without the need to impose prescriptive rules. However, it is recognised that the process of identifying a new host may give rise to disputes. In this situation, the outgoing host is encouraged to contact the NSG who may seek the involvement of independent experts.

If you need any further support, please get in touch:

Further information

Further guidance on identifying and resolving partnership strengths and development areas is here: Framework for the monitoring and evaluation of catchment partnership working.

This, and further tools for development, are listed below.

Resolving Conflict

Step by step guide on resolving conflict in your Catchment Partnership


Team development

Getting the most out of your partnership


CaBA Workflow

This diagram sets out the key stages in planning integrated, collaborative actions to deliver multiple benefits. The process itself is important; the purpose is not simply ‘to develop and deliver a plan’, but to build a strong partnership that aligns behind that plan and achieves its delivery together.


Developing a Catchment Management Plan

The CaBA Support Team have produced a guidance manual to support the development of a CaBA Catchment Plan, that is based on emerging good practice from across the CaBA community. The guide is structured around the four key components of a catchment plan set out in the CaBA Workflow. Partnerships whose plans incorporate these elements appear better able to build confidence with external stakeholders and leverage funds from a diverse range of sources.


The remainder of these resources are structured around the key stages in the CaBA Workflow, identifying resources that can support partnerships at each stage in their activities.

Stage 1: Build Partnerships

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders are individuals & organisations who need to be considered in achieving a Catchment Partnership’s goals. This short guide explains how to carry out a stakeholder analysis using a range of simple tools & techniques. Once identified resources listed below help partnerships engage with key stakeholders; diverse partnerships with a broad stakeholder base appear more able to develop plans and projects collaboratively, identifying potential issues and dealing with them at an early stage, cementing partnership relationships & embedding trust.

Visit guide

Engaging Local Authorities

Local Authority Officers have a statutory duty to deliver WFD objectives and this provides them with the opportunity to play a key role in delivering a high-quality water environment. These resources enable partnerships to run training sessions to engage Local Authority staff with WFD and CaBA.

Visit guide

Engaging with Local Enterprise Partnerships

Despite their economic focus, there is scope for Catchment Partnerships to engage and work with LEPs to ensure that growth supported through LEP funding is environmentally sustainable. This guide enables partnerships to understand the areas of interest for their local LEP, and describes how to develop a strong rationale to secure LEP support for particular interventions or projects.

Visit guide

Engaging with Rural Industries

Forestry and farming businesses have a crucial role in helping to protect water and the wider catchment environment. This guide sets out best practice approaches to engaging with the sector to ensure that they are well represented and actively participating in Catchment Partnerships.

Visit guide

Engaging with Business

A series of tools, reports and practical guidance produced through the WaterLIFE project help Catchment Partnerships to understand the roles that business could play, and describe how to help businesses become involved in the Catchment Based Approach.

Visit guide

Engaging Investors

This research report featuring a case study, tools & tips helps Catchment Partnerships to prepare for private investment and identify what the opportunities are within their catchment.

Visit guide

Stage 2 - Use data and evidence to develop the catchment plan

CaBA Biodiversity Pack

The CaBA Biodiversity Pack promotes the synergies between WFD & Biodiversity delivery, and the restoration of natural processes as a basis for sustainable habitat restoration and management. The pack consists of 3 overarching guides covering policy, species conservation, and methods of prioritising locations for biodiversity delivery, and 10 habitat-specific guides which focus on how and where natural function can incorporated, and the benefits that this can bring. It sets out key management messages that partnerships can build into their delivery work across the suite of habitat types, in line with current thinking and emerging policy.


Planning NFM Projects

A variety of planning tools including the EA’s Working With Natural Processes Evidence Directory summarising the effectiveness of WWNP measures from a flood risk management perspective


Planning Water Quality Interventions

A variety of planning tools including the Source Apportionment GIS tool (SAGIS) which quantifies pollutant loads from a variety of different sources, and SCIMAP, a risk-mapping framework to identify from where in the landscape diffuse pollution is most likely to be originating.


Stage 3 - Implement catchment management interventions

Working in urban environments

A range of guidance including a manual on urban river restoration techniques, urban water management, and biodiversity-rich sustainable drainage schemes.

Trout in the Town - Urban River Toolkit

Practical advice for local people


Urban Water Management and Guidance

To help catchment partnerships and planners in urban areas create sustainable catchments.


SUDs Guidance

Guidance on how to create SuDS that are great for wildlife and for people.


Working in rural environments

A range of guidance including:

A guide that shares the Tweed Forum’s approach to invasive plant control, from consultation, fundraising and legal & licensing issues to landowner and volunteer engagement, species control methodology, GPS mapping, planning and monitoring.

A guide designed to assist landowners carrying out small-scale maintenance work on watercourses running through their land.

The Wholescape Approach to Marine Management ‘WAMM’ project which looks to help support a more collaborative approach between Coastal and CaBA partnerships

The Tweed Invasives Project

Case Study: Addressing the threats posed by harmful invasive plant species throughout the River Tweed catchment


Watercourse Maintenance for Landowners Best Practice

This guide is designed to assist landowners in the Shropshire area carry out small-scale maintenance work on watercourses running through their land.


Wholescape Approach to Marine Management (WAMM)

The ‘WAMM’ project supports a more collaborative approach between Coastal and CaBA partnerships


Stage 4 - Measure outcomes, adjust delivery & improve plan

Capturing Benefits

Guidance and suggestions for capturing more meaningful metrics on engagement (citizen science, volunteering etc) and the social and economic benefits of work by CaBA partnerships. These aspects may be of particular interest to funders.


Citizen Science & Volunteer Monitoring Pack

A handbook setting out monitoring techniques that can allow volunteers to contribute to measuring the impacts of a partnership’s work. Citizen Science schemes also provide a key means of engaging local communities in the health of the water environment, building support for the partnership’s activities.


Other useful resources

CaBA Mentoring Programme

The aim of the CaBA Mentoring Programme is to build capacity and resilience within the CaBA family by taking a sustainable evidence-based approach. A small, multi-organisational, mentoring team works with CaBA partners helping them to move forward in their catchment by drawing out solutions from the team itself and from partners’ own experience, including that gained in other CaBA catchments.

Learn more

Framework for the monitoring and evaluation of catchment partnership working

The Eunomia guide is a Catchment Partnership self evaluation tool. It contains guidance on what to think about in planning an evaluation; questions for self- reflection; a structured tool based on success factors to guide self evaluation.


Investable partnerships

The guide asks: Is your catchment partnership investor savvy? It will prepare for private investment and identify what the opportunities are within your catchment: potential investors; opportunities for private investment, how should you assess that your catchment partnership is ready to engage with private investors.


Catchment partnership resilience report 2020

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) worked with 4 catchment partnerships to learn how Catchment Partnerships can become more independent, self-sustaining and resilient, with a particular focus on financial sustainability and income diversification.


Income generation report of catchment partnerships

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) were commissioned to explore Catchment Partnership resilience. CAF worked with 4 Catchment Partnerships from across the country to understand what are realistic and feasible sources of income generation to aim for. Catchment Partnership working together to create change and maximise available resources in a co-ordinated, strategic way.


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