Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Risk Management in Services

Presentation by Service Director Regulatory Serviceson the strategic risks facing the Service and the internal controls and governance in place to manage / mitigate those risks to demonstrate how risk management is embedded within Services.  (Verbal presentation).



The Service Director Regulatory Services, Mr Brian Frater, was in attendance to brief the Committee on the strategic risks facing the various sections within Regulatory Services and to explain the internal controls and governance in place to manage and mitigate those risks.  Mr Frater explained the areas of service he managed, namely: Assessors and Electoral Registration; Audit and Risk; Legal and Licensing; Passenger Transport, and Planning, Housing & Related Services. Mr Frater was also the Council’s Senior Monitoring Officer, RIPSA and Data Protection Officer.  Risk Registers for each of the services were developed through Financial, People and Business Planning processes and were owned and by Service Managers within that service.  Risks were regularly reviewed by the Regulatory Services Management Team and when necessary, were escalated to Corporate Management Team (CMT).  


7.2       Mr Frater referred to the key overarching issues facing Regulatory Services namely  ongoing financial pressures, recruitment and retention, new legislation, customer demand and expectations, IT reliance and changes to service delivery models. Mr Frater then went on to give a brief overview of the risks within each service.  With regard to Assessors & Electoral Registration, a red risk had been identified with the new election software, relating to the lower voting age in Scotland for Scottish Elections. Other risks included the implementation of the Barclay review and recruitment challenges within the service.  With regard to Audit & Risk, there was potential risk around losing specialist skills and lack of succession opportunities.   Within Legal & Licensing, there were risks associated with new and changing legislation.  With regard to Protective Services/Health & Safety there was difficulties retaining and recruiting staff to deliver services effectively, proactively monitor and apply health and safety requirements.  Recent budget savings had impacted the Passenger Transport service, particularly with regard to service delivery decisions taken without their involvement. Risks associated with Planning, Housing & Related Services related to uncertainty around the new Planning Act, potential capacity issues in processing applications quickly and reduction in SHIP funding.


            Mr Frater went on to discuss his roles as the Council’s Senior Information Risk Officer and Data Protection Officer, explaining that mismanagement or loss of data could have a potential fine of 4% of total Council turnover. In his Monitoring Officer role he also gave guidance to Members to ensure they did not breach the Code of Conduct which could result in reputational damage.   As the RIPSA Responsible Officer he authorised covert surveillance activities.  The Council had not, as yet, used these powers but if necessary, he had to ensure they were used appropriately. In terms of managing risks, Mr Frater explained that this was achieved by having regular risk workshops, supported by the Audit and Risk Team; regularly monitoring of both corporate and operational risks within Services; recruiting  to posts through ‘grow our own’, which involved  supporting staff to achieve the necessary qualifications; and embracing new opportunities to deal with customer demands.  Mr Frater responded to Members questions advising that GDPR had introduced a more structured approach to holding and processing information. Data should be encrypted and any information no longer required deleted.  Members  requested a further briefing on managing information and he would arrange with the Information Team.   Regarding surveillance operations, these were audited every three years by an independent auditor.  The last two audits had achieved positive criticism. With regard to changes in legislation, Mr Frater highlighted the importance of legal advice. Ms Stacey added that in terms of community empowerment and engagement, an assurance review by Audit Scotland would consider community engagement.  The Chairman thanked Mr Frater for his presentation.




(a)        The presentation on risk management in Regulatory Services directorate.

(b)       To request a further briefing session on managing information.





Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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