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Child safety, asbestos dangers, coping with massive change, and the desire to achieve best value service for the co...
Child safety, asbestos dangers, coping with massive change, and the desire to achieve best value service for the community provided the driving forces behind winning entries at the 1999 ALARM Awards.

The annual competition to discover the best risk management schemes in the UK public sector, brought prestigious ALARM awards for:

Allerdale Borough Council

Somerset County Council

Warrington Borough Council

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

Six other authorities were highly commended for their risk management:

Coventry City Council, London Borough of Brent

Inverclyde Council London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Hertfordshire County Council Thanet District Council

The much-prized ALARM Awards - judged by leading ALARM members and previous winners -provide professional recognition of top-standard risk management activities within public authorities in the UK. Trophies and certificates, sponsored by Zurich Municipal, were presented to winners at the annual conference of ALARM, the National Forum for Risk Management in the Public Sector, in Coventry.

ALARM Chairman David Fleetwood said: 'Once again the ALARM awards have produced entries of a high calibre, and winning submissions which are at the pinnacle of best risk management practise. There is no doubt that the award scheme raises the profile of the profession, and highlights the bottom-line value of risk management, and we are grateful to Zurich Municipal for their support in staging such a worthwhile event.'

Allerdale Borough Council won its award for its site safety initiative warning children (and their parents) of the risks of playing on construction sites. Supported by the building industry and using the slogan 'children stay away, building sites are not for play', Allerdale introduced an awareness scheme which benefited the whole community.

Somerset County Council tackled the risks from asbestos materials head-on and developed a programme which co-ordinates all aspects of asbestos management within its buildings - a programme which has now been recognised by the UK Accreditation Service.

Faced with a budget shortfall, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council created an award-winning risk management strategy to reduce the frequency and cost of insurance claims, thus releasing expenditure for frontline services. In doing so, SMDC delivered best value service to the community and made savings on the bottom-line.

When Warrington MBC became a unitary authority overnight in April 1998, its employee numbers quadrupled and its budget increased tenfold - and its culture of 'insure and claim' also had to undergo a massive change. A fresh risk management culture was adopted through integrated functions, employee education, and improved monitoring.

Now risk management is a component of every employee's 'toolkit' and recognised as a normal part of everyday management of the organisation. John Murray, managing director of Zurich Municipal, in presenting the 1999 ALARM Awards, said: 'I am extremely impressed with the quality of entries this year and would like to congratulate all the winners in developing such innovative approaches.

'The high standard of initiatives put forward for the awards demonstrates that local authorities are placing increasing importance on the role of effective risk management as part of their overall management process. This will produce real results in securing best value in local government service delivery.'

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