Simon Dennis, Corporate Improvement and Risk Manager, presented the current Corporate Strategic Risk Register which summarised the current position of the Register and also provided a short summary of the Council’s risk management arrangements.
It was reported that although the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had seen risk management play a vital role, remained ongoing, risk management arrangements had now broadly returned to normal. This had been set out in the Risk Management Annual Summary that was presented to the Audit Committee at the meeting in June 2022. The current Corporate Strategic Risk Register had recently been considered by the Council’s Strategic Leadership Team (SLT.)
The report detailed the overall arrangements which included:
Risk Champions, each of whom led on risk for their Strategic
- The Risk Champions, Assistant Chief Executive and the Corporate Improvement and Risk Manager formed the Risk Champions Group responsible for co-ordinating risk management across the Council in normal circumstances.
- Corporate Strategic Risk Register completed following reviews of individual risk by Directorate Leadership Teams. Every risk on the Register was owned by a member of SLT and also appeared on their own Directorate’s Risk Register.
The Strategic Risk Register had been formally reviewed by SLT both
at joint SLT/AD Performance Management meetings and at separate SLT
meetings. These meetings would continue to review the Register
every 3 months.
- It was also reported regularly to the Audit Committee together with the annual “deep dives” of Directorate Risk Registers.
The Corporate Improvement and Risk Manager, through the Risk
Champions, ensured updates were obtained from all risk owners,
reviewed each update and drew attention
to issues or missing updates.
- The Audit Committee received 2 reports a year on the overall status of the Council’s strategic risks. The CSRR (which was attached at Appendix 1) was currently aligned to the Council’s current Year Ahead Plan.
The Council’s risk profile had been broadly reducing and an increasing understanding of the key risks that needed to be managed at a strategic level was being developed. However, that improvement had inevitably slowed during the pandemic but the overall track in the last 2 years was still an improving one. Since January 2021, 73% of risks monitored at a strategic level had reduced or been removed, just over 6% had remained stable and 20% had increased/were new to the register.
Since the last full update in December 2021, one new risk had been added to the CSRR. That was risk SLT37 and related to the Council’s ability to deliver the wider range of projects, schemes and initiatives which it had committed to. There were now 14 risks on the Strategic Risk Register, up from 13 at the last review.
Risk number SLT03 had been rewritten to more accurately reflect the risk that the Council was currently facing relating to pressure on its services in the context of the current cost of living crisis. The previous version of the risk referred solely to family poverty, limiting its scope and also did not clearly state which business objectives the Council might fail to meet. As a result of a review, the risk had been reframed to specifically refer to the impact of the current cost of living crisis on delivery of the Council Plan (and the associated Year Ahead Delivery Plan). The associated mitigations were similar to the previous risk but had been enhanced to reflect the wider potential impact of this risk.
The risk management process was reviewed by Internal Audit during early 2022. This review compared the Council’s arrangements to the requirements of the relevant International Standard, ISO31000. The review once again concluded that substantial assurance could be derived from the controls that were in place. This was the highest assurance level possible. A further review will be carried out in 2023.
Discussions ensured with the following issues raised/clarified:-
- Fuel Poverty and Health Inequalities were covered under the cost of living crisis risk on the Corporate Strategic Risk Register. They were however broken down further in the Directorate risk registers.
- Arrangements had been made around emergency planning for future outbreaks of Covid-19 along with monitoring arrangements.
- The risk relating to the EU trade deal had been removed from the CSRR but was still on the Regeneration and Environment Directorate Risk Register. Other Directorates also had matters relating to the EU exit on their Risk Registers.
- Matters relating to the war in Ukraine such as the impact on gas and food were covered under the Medium Term Financial Strategy risk but some further context would be added to make this clearer in future.
It was agreed that going forward the number of each risk would be included within the circles on the Risk Heat Maps. It was also agreed that the Chair would be provided with further detail regarding the EU Exit risks on the directorate Risk Registers.
Resolved:- That the update on the Corporate Strategic Risk Register be noted.