The scheme has been in operation since 1996 and is run by Glasgow Caledonian University in conjunction with local government insurer, Zurich Municipal. The summer placement forms part of a degree course in risk management at the university. It operates by providing a unique opportunity for councils to employ a risk management undergraduate, partially funded by Zurich Municipal, to take on a specific risk related task or problem for a period of up to ten weeks.
In 1997, 31 authorities throughout England and Scotland participated and projects have involved the full spectrum of local authority risk management activities: from risk financing through claims analysis, to physical inspection for the security of public buildings.
Specific projects which have been undertaken as part of last years' placement include a property risk analysis carried out by a student working with East Lothian Council. East Lothian Council Risk Manager, Russell Johnstone was very impressed with the outcome and commented that
Another student, was employed by Barnsley MBC to complete two reporting tasks, a report on highway claims analysis and a report on school fencing. Barnsley's Insurance and Risk Manager expressed great satisfaction with the student's work and in particular, his contribution to establishing a Risk Management Bulletin which has now been circulated throughout the council.
The placement initiative has been a resounding success with both parties reaping the benefits. In addition to providing valuable work experience for students, the university is given the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into how local authorities deal with risk and subsequently can use this information to update the course. The employing organisation, on the other hand, receives a strong impetus in promoting risk management.
David Ross, research assistant at the Department of Risk and Financial Services Glasgow Caledonian University said:
'The scheme can only be measured in terms of the number of satisfied repeat participants, and with 85% of last summer's participating councils already preliminarily registering for 1998, the Zurich Municipal and Glasgow Caledonian University partnership would appear to be very successful'.
David Forster of Zurich Municipal said:
'The continued development of Risk Management in local authorities requires professional management. Glasgow Caledonian's degree course is generating the risk managers of the future for the public sector. We are delighted to work so closely with Glasgow Caledonian University'.
Councils will be given the opportunity to apply for participation in the scheme in early spring 1998. If you require any further information about how to offer a student placement, contact David Ross at Glasgow Caledonian University (0141 331 3121)