The Department for Transport has today, 11 September 2017, released the long awaited draft "Ports Good Governance Guidance" for public consultation. The consultation runs until 22 October 2017. All statutory harbour authorities (SHAs) should consider the guidance and respond, either individually or through their representative groups. Once finalised, the guidance will apply to all SHAs in England. It also covers all SHAs in Wales until the devolution settlement set out in the Wales Act 2017 comes into effect in April 2018. In addition, in line with the updated Port Marine Safety Code the principles of the guidance are also relevant to all organisations that own or manage harbour and port facilities.

While the guidance is advisory rather than legally binding, all SHAs will be expected to carefully consider it and to implement its principles if these are not already in place (where practical and appropriate to the circumstances of the SHA). Where an aspect of the guidance is not complied with SHAs will need to be able to explain why.

In a new approach, the draft guidance covers all SHAs regardless of the port ownership model (private, trust port or municipal port). However, it also contains specific governance guidance aimed at trust ports and also municipal (local authority owned) ports reflecting the specific characteristics of those two models of port ownership.

Part A (applies to all SHAs) and covers the following principles:

  1. Corporate Governance
  2. Stakeholder Engagement
  3. Provision of Information
  4. Safety
  5. Other duties, harbour dues, and security

Part B applies to Trust Ports and covers:

  1. Corporate Governance
  2. Stakeholder Engagement
  3. Commercial accountability, compliance and strategic reviews

Part C applies to Municipal (Local Authority Owned) Ports and covers:

  1. Corporate Governance
  2. Stakeholder Engagement
  3. Provision of information
  4. Other issues

The draft Ports Good Governance Guidance and further information regarding the consultation can be found here.