Chief Commissioner's Blog | Bold or reckless, a fine line!

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Risk management featured highly in two days of external networking this week – but for me there was nothing more risky than sitting in a chair trying to pay attention!

At the NCVO’s Trustee Conference, Rolls Royce Science Award presentation dinner and the Barclay’s Charities Conference the subject featured in different ways.

The Charity Commission’s view

In opening the NCVO conference, William Shawcross, Chair of the Charity Commission, discussed risk and suggested charities shouldn’t ‘push the edges of the envelope’ (in respect of political lobbying). That started me thinking about TSA’s approach to risk management, particularly as we offer an exciting and adventurous programme of activities.

Inspiring in science and engineering

I spent the evening with Rolls Royce at a presentation dinner to celebrate their Science Awards and promote our partnership with them. Some inspiring teachers demonstrated just why some risks must be taken. The guest speaker was Richard Noble who explained the Bloodhound SSC, a project of global Engineering Adventure, using a 1,000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt to inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

And the Finance Officer’s view

And Caron Bradshaw, CEO of Charity Finance Group, speaking at the Barclay’s Charities Conference observed that one person’s ‘bold’ is another’s reckless. As Caron highlighted, the competing pressures need to be carefully balanced between being bold and brave but we should never be reckless!

Finding the line

All this got me thinking about where the line is and how we govern around it. In our own case we have written before about the need to provide adventurous activities for young people so that they take risks in a way that can be managed and supported.

Accidents, near misses and mistakes will happen. The key is to minimize them and their impact and ensure lessons are learnt and they are not repeated. But let’s remember that risk goes wider than just safety. We need to consider financial, operational, regulatory, external and governance risks.

Our approach to a safety culture goes a long way to address that in activities – but what steps might we take within our governance structure to find the right balance? I look forward to exploring this with many of our County Executive Officers attending the one-day workshop in London on Saturday.

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