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Rotherham MBC beat off the competition to win a national risk management award. ...
Rotherham MBC beat off the competition to win a national risk management award.

Steve Merriman, from the Corporate Finance Department, has been in charge of risk management for less than two years, but has now received national recognition for the work he has done with the council.

Mr Merriman has identified the need to assess the risk associated with every aspect of the council's work, and his efforts to instil the principles of risk management in his colleagues paid off when ALARM - the National Forum for Risk Management in the Public Sector - presented his council with an award last night.

Rotherham won the 'Getting Risk Management on the Corporate Agenda' category at ALARM's 10th annual conference. The council was one of only two in the UK to be short-listed in this new awards category.

Judges were looking for organisations which have achieved high standards of success in getting risk management on the corporate agenda.

In the case of Rotherham this entailed examination of every aspect of council business or service delivery, and creating and implementing systems and procedures to minimise any potential risks.

When Mr Merriman took over responsibility for risk management in spring 2000, a risk management policy and strategy was already in existence. But it was not really understood by all the staff and there was no single employee responsible for driving it forward.

Inspired by the presence of a new chief executive, an impending external inspection, advice from ALARM in its 10-point plan and the production of Rotherham's first corporate plan, Mr Merriman began his quest.

Judges scrutinised the progress the council has made in such a short space of time, and saw that achievements include:

- Organising a presentation by Aon Ltd to the council's Corporate Management Team

- Writing a new Risk Management Strategy for the Council

- Setting up a Strategic Risk Workshop to identify and prioritise the risks associated with the council's service delivery

With the full support of departmental heads, the cabinet and other major stakeholders, the council began work on the installation of risk management concepts in every aspect of its work.

In the last 12 months it has:

- Secured leadership commitment to address the findings of Corporate Governance


- Rebranded Risk Management

- Clarified the role each council employee is responsible for regarding Risk


- Got Risk Management as a permanent item on management meeting agendas

- Established a corporate Risk Management Group with representation from each

programme area management team

- Secured a commitment to integrate risk assessments into the service planning

process from 2003/04

- Incorporated Risk Management into job descriptions

Mr Merriman has called Rotherham's approach to risk management The Triple 'A' Strategy for Managing Risk : Attitude, Action and Achievement.

Mr Merriman said last night: 'The award was unexpected but pleasurable and I would like to give credit to my colleagues at Aon and Line International - Stuart Redfearn and Lois Bentley.'

ALARM chairman Kevin McGlone said: 'We can all learn from the experience of Rotherham's work in highlighting the contribution risk management can make. Recognition of that contribution by senior management at Rotherham is excellent.'

The other short-listed entry for this category came from Swindon BC, whose risk manager Jan Collins received a highly commended certificate.

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