Organisational Capacity Assessment & Guidance for Infrastructure Operators Addressing Their Climate Adaptation Challenges

Assessing the Capacity of Infrastructure Operating Companies to Manage Climate Risks

Country: UK

The UK Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum (IOAF) is a collection of the UK’s principal infrastructure operating companies. They work together to better understand the nature of their climate change adaptation challenges and identify solutions to them.

Members recognised that some key barriers to action were internal organisational decision making. They reviewed options for understanding how best to address those barriers and identified CaDD as the most effective option.

IOAF initially launched a pilot exercise with 5 members: Affinity Water, HS2, Network Rail, Northern Powergrid and Yorkshire Water. Each conducted an on-line CaDD Deep Dive analysis (the most fine grained of the CaDD analyses). They received a draft Action Plan on the basis of the on-line analysis. These draft findings were reviewed in debriefs. Through dialogue, priority activity points were identified to begin the implementation of each Action Plan.

Baseline capacity assessments were conducted for 5 of the UK’s leading infrastructure operators with target capacity levels identified and tailored Action Plans for progressing towards their target. A high level of satisfaction was reported by participating organisanisations. Each Action Plan was very different, reflecting the wide differences in capacities between individual organisations. The value of the CaDD approach consequently became clear; guiding all participants to change current management practices as part of a longer term change plan, to achieve the level of capacity identified by the CaDD process.

Participating organisations with very strongly segmented business units, each with widely differing adaptation capacities, felt they may have benefited from even greater insight into useful change, by separately assessing the individual business units, rather than having a single report. A single report for a diverse organisation does give significant value in the assessment of capacities necessary at organisational level e.g. leadership, strategy and learning. It also picks up good practice in parts of the organisation that can be scaled up with the right learning and leadership capacities.

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