Managing risk in your county

Risk assessments and more

Starting to think about the strategic risks you might face.

Talking about risk management, the Charity Commission says: 

'Charity trustees should regularly review and assess the risks faced by their charity in all areas of its work and plan for the management of those risks. Risk is an everyday part of charitable activity and managing it effectively is essential if the trustees are to achieve their key objectives and safeguard their charity’s funds and assets.'

This is good practice for all areas of guiding, even though different regulations apply to charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

Although not all counties are charities, the principles are the same – the trustees need to:

  • name any risks which could affect the area  
  • decide how best to respond to these risks to minimise any negative outcome 
  • and make a suitable statement in the annual report 

It’s good practice to do so even if not required by the Charity Commission. 

Risk assessments 

Carrying out a risk assessment for the county will allow you to spot any potential risks and the impact they might have. This could include issues which may disrupt services to members, issues which could damage the reputation of the county or Girlguiding, or which could cause a change in income. For example: 

  • Governance risks – such as an ineffective structure, conflicts of interest or a lack of the right skills among the trustees or other key members. 
  • Operational risks – such as risks relating to events or property, safe from harm issues, or data protection issues. 
  • Financial risks – such as not enough insurance cover, reducing income or cash flow issues. 
  • External risks – such as reputational risk, image risk, and changes in government policy. 
  • Compliance risks – such as poor knowledge of the responsibilities of an employer or other regulatory requirements, or breach of trust. 

Each county should follow our  standard risk assessment process to create a risk assessment for their area. This needs to be reviewed regularly - every six months, when a new risk appears, or where risk has significantly increased. 

Each county event and property should have their own risk logs, which should be managed by the relevant committee and shared with commissioners. You might want to add any high-risk items from these to your county risk assessment to make sure they’re managed well. 

Thinking about, and writing down, mitigating steps will help you manage issues when they occur. It can be hard to know what to do when you’re in the middle of a situation, so having the steps ready to follow will help.