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STRESS TOPS RISK LEAGUE

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Stress at work is the most serious threat facing the public sector, according to council risk managers. ...
Stress at work is the most serious threat facing the public sector, according to council risk managers.

A survey of its members by the Association of Local Authority Risk Managers reveals many are concerned at the trend towards large awards to public sector staff claiming compensation for stress-related illnesses.

The survey, published at ALARM's annual conference at Warwick University, saw 85% of respondents rank stress at work in their top 10 emerging risks in the public sector.

Nine out of 10 felt there was an unhealthy 'compensation culture' developing in the UK.

ALARM chairman David Fleetwood said: 'If the adage is true that an organisation's greatest asset is its workforce, then local authorities would be well advised to review their personnel policies to incorporate professional risk management principles to reduce stress and employee health concerns.'

ALARM members are also concerned about the potential risks posed by the government's modernisation programme for councils. More than 60% said the replacement of the committee system with mayors and cabinets could fuel risks as delegation to officers increased and audit trails were reduced.

Three-quarters said corporate governance guidelines for the private sector should be extended to public bodies.

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