Agenda item

Corporate Risk Management Report


The Head of Assurance (HOA) updated the Committee. He led a Risk Management Workshop with the Council’s Executive Team in September 2022 which undertook a fundamental review of the strategic corporate risks that might prevent the Council from achieving its objectives. This latest review had been undertaken personally by Strategic Directors as per the Risk Management Strategy, with some changes to risk wording having been identified and changes to the level of risk reported.


There were 13 Corporate Risks at the last review, however one risk, the Significant Incident in the Community (CR.3), was removed as the organisation and its partners were now better equipped to deal with any incident than previously.


In response to the presentation the Committee were curious as to why CR.1 (Population Change) and CR.4 (Safeguarding Failures) were both seen as low risk, especially in respect to CR.1 seeing the significant growth of the local population, which whilst bringing benefits, also presented significant and complex challenges for the Borough. What were the plans to mitigate and manage the associated risks in these areas?


The HOA responded by explaining the structure to support each of the risks. This involved assessing the gross risk of the likelihood of something occurring should there be no controls in place. Moving towards net risk this related to those faced today with controls in place followed by further actions, deadlines and responsible officers that sit between where we are now and the target risk. Applying this matrix, CR.1 was deemed now to be a lower risk due to the existing controls that were in place and the way the risk was managed, whilst in respect to CR.4, this remained a high (red) target risk as the impact of something going wrong was very significant, and could never be reduced, albeit there were actions in place to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring.


Additionally, the last time the report was presented to the Committee, members raised concerns about climate change, and why was it not highlighted as a specific risk, to which at that time the response was that it was incorporated as part of CR.3 (Significant Incident in the Community). Consequently, what was the thinking now behind removing the risk, especially given the recent experiences in the Borough with house fires due to the extreme hot weather conditions as well as flooding and the ‘mini tornado’ in Barking.


The HOA explained that whist climate change was not on the Corporate Register it did appear on registers that sat behind the Corporate Register, and therefore formed a key element, feeding into a number of the main risks.


It was noted that both financial risks CR.2 (Financial Management) and CR.7 (Economic Downturn) were rated as high (red) risk. The fact that the Council’s Accounts had not been audited since 2019/20 would only increase the financial risks to the Council. Consequently, with the changing economic environment including increases in interest rates and the downturn in the construction activity etc, why was CR.6 (Investment Decisions) not rated as high risk, given questions as to the viability of some of the Council’s current schemes such as the Gascoigne 3B regeneration scheme?


The Section 151 Officer stated that the key thing was that these risks were now being actively reviewed and monitored regularly. In respect of CR.6 whilst the impact was high, it was classified as medium rating (amber) because although officers were aware that there were problems with a number of current schemes, they were nevertheless being managed through ongoing mitigation measures, and consequently remained viable.  On the specific question as to the viability of the Gascoigne 3B regeneration scheme, the Section 151 Officer agreed to come back with a separate report. 


The Chair observed that where in those cases the net risks exceeded the target risks, it would be helpful for the Committee to receive an update report at the next meeting on what actions were being taken to mitigate against such risks, which the HOA agreed to provide.


The Committee noted the update.








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