For many years Hunters Hill Council has recognised the importance of a proactive and enterprise wide (ERM) approach to managing risk. However, as a small Council with a unique risk profile it had to think outside the square to come up with a strategy to adequately resource its ERM program.
Key challenges largely revolved around the size and related resource limitations of Council. It was not feasible or realistic for Council to justify a full time resource to manage the ERM implementation. Sourcing a part-time resource was also investigated, however this created its own concerns – such a resource would not allow for the flexibility needed to accommodate changing needs of Council, nor could suitable experience be found in such a capacity.
In 2010, Council engaged InConsult to provide ongoing risk management support and services. A program of services and activities called “Risk Assist” was developed for Council by InConsult. This program included:
- Regular, facilitated 6-monthly reviews of Council’s risk register; identifying and evaluating key risks and controls using InConsult’s GuardianERM system;
- Reporting and presenting the outcomes of each risk review to Council Executive, internal auditor and Financial & Strategic Planning and Advisory Committee;
- Identification and follow up of risk treatment plans for key risks;
- Targeted risk assessments of higher risk projects and activities and;
- Risk management support, advice and training as required.
Some of the targeted risk assessments have focused on areas including;
- The development assessment process;
- A major infrastructure project;
- New Year’s Eve celebrations and;
- Workplace Health and Safety risks
As a result of the successful implementation of Hunters Hill’s ERM framework and the ongoing support provided by InConsult, Council recently won the Metropool Risk Management Excellence Award.
According to Council’s General Manager, Barry Smith, the implementation of these key activities has significantly improved the culture of risk thinking and risk management within the organisation. The Senior Management Team has taken responsibility and ownership of the management of key risks across the organisation.
“Risk Assist” has also assisted Council in the implementation of its responsibilities under the new Integrated Planning & Reporting framework.
Mr Smith stated that “the project has provided a financially sustainable and cost effective risk management function for Council that was not previously in place.”
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