What is Risk?
According to The British Safety Council a hazard is ‘Anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc.’ and a risk is ‘The chance – high or low – that somebody could be harmed by a hazard, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.’
As far as social housing is concerned, these risks can be internal and external to the organisation and affect both in different ways.
Internal risks relate to those affecting staff at all levels and can happen internally or externally to the workplace. (Employee Insurance Claims)
External Risks are those occurring on the outside areas managed by the organisation. These will affect residents and those visiting or working in these external areas. (Public Liability Insurance Claims)
Sometimes these risks do not relate to an ‘actual’ injury but to damage to property including tenant’s contents as in the case of severe internal damp, subsidence to property due to trees and/or large bush roots and non maintained drainage for example.
GSC are experienced in dealing with another type of 'risk' affecting organisations (GSC's Clients). This is whether they are equipped to respond successfully when a risk becomes a reality in the form of an insurance claim being received. This risk can, if not efficiently handled cost the organisation thousands of pounds.
According to a study carried out by the Health and Safety Executive a few years ago, for every £1 that is paid out in an insurance claim, there are hidden costs amounting to between 8 and 36 times the payment. That is if £1 is paid out, the hidden cost would be between £8 and £36 which if multiplied by £1000 = £8000 and £36000. These are uninsured costs.
This hidden cost covers such things as investigation and administration time, policy excess, staff time – sickness (if a temporary staff member is covering that role), manager’s time being diverted, fines (Health and Safety Executive fines are not covered by insurance), legal costs, reduced service delivery, overtime / flexi time, temporary staff, and not forgetting the organisation's reputation.
Understanding Risk and how to manage it is very important for any business. Our Clients need to ensure their Risk Management Policy is adequate. This Policy should create and protect value. It is necessary therefore, as mentioned above, that every process carried out by all departments and teams, need to form an intricate part of the whole. When decision making, considering the risks and consequences, is vital especially if they could affect Value for Money and Best Practice.
One risk management solutions company stated "
"By tailoring your risk management policies to your company, you'll be better able to identify and analyse various risks and create a system that can be responsive to your particular challenges."
You can appreciate by looking at the above figures from the HSE, that it is important to ask yourselves the following questions :
1, Can our organisation be 100% confident that our risks are as low as possible?
2. Is there room for improvement? Is it possible to lower your housing risks and thereby reduce your annual insurance claim compensation payments and premiums?
3. From the 'grass roots' levels to 'management', are your teams (and the individual staff) doing all they can to effectively manage their own 'risks'?
4. Are processes in place and being followed to ensure efficiency which will contribute to the overall risk reduction?
5. What is the solution?