Guidance launches to help charities tackle ‘emerging risks'

Guidance has been released for charities to help them better handle emerging crises by embedding risk management into their organisation.

It has been produced by a raft of charity leaders and aims to simplify the process of embedding risk management into the running of voluntary sector organisations.

The focus is on helping charities to identify emerging risks swiftly, put in place plans to address challenges and ensure risk management is at the heart of their strategic planning.

The guidance report has been published by the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) and authored by a raft of charity leaders including Oxfam’s deputy director of Integrity and ethics Sophie Walsh as well Cancer Research UK’s senior manager: risk and assurance Charles Mitchell.

Others involved in the publication of How to embed emerging risk identification and management include Prince’s Trust senior head of risk Sarah Nolan and
Teenage Cancer Trust director of finance and strategic performance Jill Long.

“The political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental context in which we live and do business is fast-moving,” states the report.

“This creates an ever-changing risk environment for organisations, with a fluid set of emerging risks and opportunities. It is therefore very important to consider emerging risks in a regular and frequent way to keep pace with the evolving risk context.”

The report adds: “It is important to work with management to go ‘beyond the obvious’ in their risk thinking.

"Given time constraints, management often tends to focus solely on those many risks which are ‘right in front of their faces’, rather than spending time on those risks which are on, or just over, the horizon - even if those risks present a much bigger and more fundamental threat to the organisation.”

The guidance is the latest in three publications to help charities better handle risk.

“With a little structure, risk management can be embedded into an organisation to help it achieve objectives, support successful strategic planning and reassure people at all levels within and outside the organisation that uncertainty and risk are being considered and managed appropriately, including emerging risks,” added Alyson Pepperill, chair of the IRM’s charities group.

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