IEMA’s new Impact Assessment Strategy

As you may be aware, IEMA and the Impact Assessment (IA) Network Steering Group have been working to create a new strategy and delivery plan to meet the needs of our IA members and ensure that we respond effectively to future challenges within the sector.

In last month’s Transform we shared the feedback received from more than 500 IEMA members on the draft strategy through the Let’s Talk Impact Assessment member engagement process.

This month we are setting out what we are going to do in response in some of these areas. This is the next step on that journey, so the plan has not yet been finalised. Some details may change, particularly around the exact wording or timing of some activities, but we wanted to update you on how things are shaping up. Further work will be done ahead of the next IA Network Steering Group meeting in July.

You told us that we needed to set out a bold and ambitious vision. Although still a work in progress, we have tried to capture your feedback with the following revised vision: “IEMA and its members will ensure impact assessment is widely recognised as delivering valuable input, positively influencing development design and seeking to provide lasting benefits to the environment, communities and the economy.”

You told us to be clearer about what our objectives were. We have narrowed down our objectives from the 10 we presented to the following four. Exact details may change, but this will give you a good steer:

  1. Promote professional standards and best practice, and showcase the benefits of IA to deliver positive outcomes for the environment and society.
  2. Develop guidance and training and promote knowledge sharing and collaboration to provide practitioners with the skills and knowledge to deliver effective and proportionate IA.
  3. Improve the effectiveness of IA through innovation in practice and effective policy and regulations.
  4. Encourage and develop the careers of impact assessment professionals so that there is a vibrant supply of qualified practitioners to meet the needs of the future of IA.

You told us to be clearer about how we were going to achieve our objectives. We have reframed many of the objectives as being about ‘how’ to achieve the above four. For example, there were objectives relating to collaborating with other professional bodies, with regulators, academics or with international practitioners. We need to be clearer about ‘why’ or ‘to achieve what?’

We have also developed some specific SMART objectives for the next year that clearly link up our proposed activities. For example, to progress objective 3 on effective policy and regulations, we intend to meet with officials in each of the four UK countries to discuss key policy, legislative and regulatory changes that may be needed and opportunities to shape consultation proposals.

You asked us to collaborate with others, particularly local authority planners. We will be looking to organise joint events and webinars with other organisations. For example, Steering Group member David Hoare is organising a series of events at WSP in Manchester, hosted jointly with the Royal Town Planning Institute. We will look to further expand our collaborative work during the coming year.

You asked us to increase the amount of activities that we run for members, particularly webinars. We will re-introduce regular impact assessment webinars. During the rest of the year, you will see webinars on topics such as cumulative effects, photography and visualisations in EIA, cultural heritage, materials and waste in EIA, and many more. There are a number of areas of the new strategy that will take more time to realise. For example, you asked for more opportunities to network with each other. You also provided feedback on the Quality Mark scheme and IEMA’s specialist registers and professional grades. Further progress updates will follow in these areas.

We are positive about the new strategy and look forward to engaging with you during the coming months. To keep in touch with all of our work, sign up to the Impact Assessment Network by emailing [email protected]


Spencer Clubb, IEMA head of policy and practice, and Peter George, chair of the Impact Assessment Network Steering Group

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