Risk Management Committees
An effective way to work through the previously described risk management process is to form a Risk Management Committee, preferably at the school board administration level, to ensure a consistent approach is applied across your school board.
The following maps the goals and steps associated with an effective Risk Management Committee:
- Establish the overall statement of risk philosophy for your school/board
- Establish definitions of risk within your school/board
- Establish the “risk appetite” or “risk tolerance” for your school/board
- Establish the risk management framework for your school/board
- Identify new/emerging risk exposures for your school board
- Maintain and review all of the above
Setting a risk philosophy involves an understanding of the mission of your organization. The generic mission statement of any school board should be to provide students with quality educational programs and positive learning and social experiences within a safe environment. A school board’s mission is not to expose students to every aspect of life and society under the belief that every experience is educational, or that students need to prove themselves by accepting high risk activities as character building experiences.
The values reflected in the mission statement will set the tone for how risk will be viewed and managed throughout your school system.
The Committee would define what is considered to be the risks to the school/board.
(See Risk Assessment section of the Risk Management Process)
Based on the previously noted Risk Philosophy and Risk Definitions, the school board’s risk appetite, or risk tolerance, will be formed. The committee will need to consider the school board’s tolerance for risk based on four key areas:
- Financial – Cost of claims, deductibles, insurance premiums, uninsured losses, fines, penalties, punitive damages, etc.
- Liability – Being held legally responsible for injuries arising from negligent acts of board employees, volunteers, etc.
- Property (Operational) – Disruption of educational services (loss of buildings, equipment, staff/student displacement, etc.)
- Reputation – Loss of student enrolment, negative publicity (due to poor safety practices, lack of management, injuries, fatalities, etc.)
Risk Management Framework
After considering the previous steps, the Committee can then set the framework for a school board’s risk management program by:
- Establishing the principles for what kinds of risk are acceptable to the organization – i.e. What risks do we want to accept and what risks do we want to avoid? (See Identify and Analyze Loss Exposures)
- Identifying the strategies that will be used to address the accepted risks, when/how the strategies will be utilized. (See Identify Risk Management Strategies)
- Establish an on-going system of monitoring and reviewing the performance of the risk strategies, identifying emerging risks and, if feasible, the Committee can act as an on-going review panel as a resource to school board administration. (See Monitoring)
Identify New/Emerging Risk Exposures
The Committee should be astute to new equipment, processes, activities, curriculum or school programs that increase the risk exposure for the school board. Once these are identified, the Risk Management process can be applied to address these new risks.
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