The role of local councillors in effective risk management

  • With local elections out of the way, many councils are focusing on the training and development of new and existing councillors
  • The more engaged councillors are in risk management strategy, the more likely it is that risks will be fully understood and managed
  • Zurich Municipal offers a range of sessions for councillors, designed to increase awareness of risk management techniques and responsibilities
Local councillors have important and incredibly diverse roles, requiring unique and varied skillsets. With local elections out of the way, many councils are now turning their attention to the training and development needs of new and existing councillors. Programmes typically include core skills such as local leadership, partnership working, communication and scrutiny – but have you considered councillors’ understanding of risk management and how it works within your authority? Councillors – particularly cabinet, audit committee and scrutiny committee members – have an important role in supporting organisational risk management. The more engaged they are with risk management, the more likely it is their organisation will take the management of key risks seriously. Their role in ensuring risks are fully understood and managed appropriately cannot be overstated. Many councils are facing challenging budgetary pressures, with some cutting services to adjust in the short-term. Many are also employing new business models, investing to grow, and commercialising. As a result, many local authorities are caught between cultures, exploring new possibilities with potentially high levels of new risk, but with one foot still in the past. There is a concern that councils may be jumping out of the frying pan of austerity and into the fire of commercialisation. Key strategic decisions needed to ensure long-term success inevitably carry major risk ramifications. Within this climate, the ability of councillors to understand and provide effective strategies for risk management is crucial. Zurich Municipal offers a range of bespoke, cost-effective and interactive in-house sessions for councillors – designed to raise awareness of risk, risk management techniques, and the responsibilities of councillors within their authority’s risk management framework. Our risk professionals are experienced in engaging and delivering solutions effectively at all levels of an organisation, and each session can be tailored to suit the requirements of a particular authority. Rupert Riall, Strategic Risk Consultant, says: “These sessions are typically very well received by members, who like the clarification they get about their role in the process and the way the sessions help them to identify risk areas for their council.”