Risk Management Case Study

In the United Kingdom, anyone who works with children, vulnerable adults or in a government-funded job (with a few exceptions) has to declare their “rap sheet” when they apply for the job (or if it changes).  The intention is to make sure that the child or vulnerable adult is not put “at risk” by those who are employed to protect and serve them.

That self-declaration is checked against the official police and court records by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). CRB checks have been part of life  and there are always complaints about the effort and cost involved. It is not that we don’t want to keep people safe from people whose nature it is to harm them but paperwork is not what those staff really wanted to do when then went to work in a school/hospital/council office/youth club.

It is fascinating that CRB (the organization set up to mitigate risks) is one of the few case studies I’ve seen of M_o_R (OGC’s Management of Risk) and I’m frustrated that it is in “gov.uk speak”. (jargon unless you work in the UK Public Sector).  For example, a G7 manager is a senior manager (grade 7) in the UK Civil Service not a manager working for a group of government representatives from the greatest economic powers (G7).    Oh how I dream of plain english!

The case study does highlight some useful thoughts:

  • changing the process does not change the culture but it can help
  • you need to change culture and process to be successful in a new way of working
  • changing the process is relatively easy, changing culture is hard
  • throwing instructions at staff from HQ rarely works as a deployment method for change
  • “what keeps you awake at night?” is a common way of identifying risk – but it isn’t a comprehensive approach
  • managing things like risk in your head is not an efficient use of a manager’s brain
  • generic risks “not enough resources” or “labour disputes” can’t be managed; you need to understand the problem, why it matters and the impact to be able to manage the risk
  • risk management is part of management and needs to be consistently performed
  • risk management has benefits but managers rarely get to understand and discuss these

The paper is only four pages of reading. Let me know what makes you think in its pages.


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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