Agenda item

Strategic Risk Register

To agree any future risks for scrutiny.


Richard Jones and Hannah Carter delivered a short training presentation on risk management and answered the members’ questions. The Chair reminded Members that it is the committee’s role to satisfy itself with the approach that has been taken and that if the committee wished to scrutinise any risks in depth, the relevant Cabinet Member would be invited to a future meeting for scrutiny of that risk.




Recognising that these are extraordinary times and that every council is approaching their strategic risk register in the same way, critically revaluating the choices they make, looking at the 39 risks identified over a 3 year period, after 3 years of mitigations being put in place 23 remain high risk. This is something I find very concerning, given that the mitigations have already been built in. Please can we have a response from the senior leadership team on this. Action: Richard Jones and Hazel Ilett.


Your point about risk levels is a fair one. It’s important that we correctly assess them and some of the factors relating to the risk may be outside our control, meaning that despite us putting in our own mitigations, they remain a high risk and the proportionate assessment is that these may not reduce. But we do need to consider the risk levels and whether we are doing enough to mitigate them if the risk level is still high.  Some of the mitigations may take time to work through and therefore take time to lower the risk level.


We are looking at this through the prism of the Local Authority and the risk that we may not be able to deliver services as we may wish to, but what we are not building in is the risk to service users if we are unable to deliver services to the standard we wish and therefore, what assessment has been undertaken of the risk to key  service users and how would it affect their lives? It would be good for us to view it from the perspective of the service user rather than just the Council. Please could we ask for a response on whether we should do more to understand risk though the eyes of the service user. Action Richard Jones and Hazel Ilett.


The strategic risk register does cover some of the impacts on people, but your point about this being a council risk register is taken. For example, for risk 11, which is decarbonisation and climate change, we’ve tried to capture ongoing community risk, as well as the risk to our own service delivery. For example, we work with the Gwent Public Service Board and some of the risks are shared across partners and communities.


Pages 53-54, the report begins stating that budgets have been reduced over several years and refers to budgets not being solvent, can you comment on that?


It’s quite a specific question and one that would be more appropriate for the risk owner.  Action: Richard Jones and the senior officer


Recognising that the risk owners need to answer the detail, my question relates to where the risk level has changed as a result of mitigation, such as risk 4 on recruitment, where after mitigation, the risk remains ‘possible’. The actions are things I would have hoped would be undertaken anyway, so what is the process about how those risks are assessed, do cabinet do it, do you do it, or is it the risk holder?


It’s done by the risk owner, supported by us so that we can offer an objective view. The example relates back to the chair’s question around whether risk levels change after risk mitigation and as some are outside of our control, sometimes the risk remains high despite mitigation, so when risk levels lower, it’s usually as a result of our own mitigations and we have to make an informed judgement led by those responsible for the risk, taking on board the feedback from elected members and also the public.


In relation to risk 2 and the current financial situation and the risk that some services may become financially unsustainable, this is interesting language, given that many services are statutory and are not able to be stood down.


We try to reflect the issues that inform the risk and how we try to respond to them, how we plan and manage our budget and how we position the risk accordingly, identifying the reasons for the risk. We try to headline it as accurately as possible and give you greater context as to the detail behind the risk.


I’m interested in the interplay between the ‘risk being the probability of bad things happening’ and I’m thinking the probability of all of them happening is low whilst the probability of one of them happening may be high so my concern is how one impacts on another, such as resources.


We have to identify what the risks are but also how they link together, so that we understand how they impact on each other, but this is a live risk register, so we do need to think about how some of the major risks such as those you have identified impacts on exiting risks, possibly creating a new risk.


Chair’s Summary:


Whilst many services are statutory, they can be mitigated and changed. One area for future consideration seems to be resources from the discussion we have held today, so we could invite the responsible officer and cabinet member, as this risk impacts on the delivery of everything else.


Recognising the document is a live document, it’s the committee’s wish to bring this back in 3 months’ time, to allow the executive time to work through the mitigating actions.  If Members have particular risks they would like to scrutinise, please highlight these so that we can invite the relevant portfolio holders. The committee agreed to move the report.


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