Most large organisations recognise the need for “holistic, integrated risk management” as an important part of good corporate governance. In a study in the UK, Europe and US, Moffatt Associates found that 30% claimed to have such a strategy, yet the consensus among senior risk managers and consultants is that fewer than 10% have implemented one in any meaningful sense. Comprehensive, integrated risk management is still at the “vapourware” stage. The issues are examined in an article in the IRM journal InfoRM, June/July 2000. The role of an effective intranet-based decision support system to promote integration is also the subject of a workshop by Clive Moffatt at the IRM conference in September.

Asbestos

The Health & Safety Commission has issued proposals to amend the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987, and to issue a new Approved Code of Practice. Some 3,000 people are currently dying in the UK from asbestos-related diseases. The new proposals seek to tighten up the existing provisions and to place an explicit duty on people in control of premises. The Consultative Document CD 159 can be viewed and downloaded from www.hse.gov.uk/condocs/. Deadline for comments is October 20 2000.

Inflation risks

Noticed the trend towards ever more grandiose job titles and inflated CVs in the risk management area? No offence to Hungary, but the number of “executive directors” and “heads of” this, that and the other seems to rival the Hungarian navy in its days of imperial glory, when it was reputed to possess 97 admirals and no ships. We also now see assorted insurance risk surveyors, who are no doubt excellent at their job, simply re-badged as business risk management consultants and let loose on an unsuspecting world. And what about impressive sounding but questionable qualifications such as Fast Track MBA? Does this mean More Bad Advice given more quickly? Inflation is the mother of devaluation in any sphere and in risk management such kidology is itself risky for all parties.

Iranian trade expansion

Iran's third five-year plan is scheduled to continue a policy of general industrial development and inward investment. Coupled with a $5bn redevelopment of the oil and gas industry and re-establishment of full diplomatic relations with Britain, it signals an era of increased trade opportunities for British companies. Oil & gas, vehicle manufacturing, telecommunications and civil engineering are at the head of a list of industries with extensive shopping lists. However, as my five-year, in-depth risk profiling study of Iran and various papers and publications over the past decade have noted, there are risks for the unwary or inexperienced.

Governance

In all the brouhaha about corporate governance, risk managers and consultants have almost exclusively focused attention on FT-SE listed companies and other large organisations wishing to adopt the principles. But what about the professional bodies that represent these experts, of which there are at least 15 in the UK alone, that are exclusively or mainly concerned with risk management of various kinds? Their combined memberships exceed 50,000. Public protection and good governance demand that all such bodies should demonstrate high standards. However, some potential “blind spots” are apparent. Those wishing to contribute to a research study should look under Hot Topics on my website.


  • Dr Alan Waring is a risk management consultant.

    For further details of these and other risk management topics, visit the Dr Alan Waring and Associates website at www.awa.demon.co.uk.