Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Risk Management in Services

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


3.1       The Service Director HR & Communications, Clair Hepburn, was in attendance to give a presentation on the strategic risks facing her service and the internal controls and governance in place to manage/mitigate those risks, to demonstrate how risk management was embedded within services.  With the aid of slides, which had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting, Ms Hepburn firstly gave a summary of the Corporate Risks which she managed for the Corporate Management Team. Included for each risk area was a description of the risk, detailed assessment, internal controls and scoring.  The six Corporate Risks were identified as: Negative Media; Change Management; Staff Recruitment and Retention; Staff Behaviour; Transformation Programme; and a new Equality and Diversity Risk, which was in the process of being evaluated.  In terms of communications and the risk of Negative Media, Ms Hepburn referred to the impact of Covid-19 and significant challenges facing the Council in that certain services had been placed under far greater scrutiny.  This had led to an increase in social media and press interest which was difficult to manage.  Additional measures were being introduced including the launch of Yammer - the Council’s very own social media platform which would help to strengthen relationships with colleagues, work together more efficiently and improve work culture.  In terms of change management, staff had adapted well to changes needed to cope with the pandemic and to homeworking in particular.  In a survey, 70% staff would like a blended approach to office/home based working in the future.  This linked into the opportunities and risks around the Transformation Programme.  Ms Hepburn moved on to summarise the Service Risk Registers which she oversaw within HR and Communications.  An additional Risk Register which sat under her responsibility and which was in progress, related to the Fit for 2024 (FF2024) programme.  A series of risks had been identified/formulated between December 2020 and February 2021, relating to effective governance, change management, communication, programme planning and adequate resourcing.

3.2       Members discussed the presentation.  When asked for more information about the red risk identified within the FF2024 of inadequate/stretched resources, Ms Hepburn explained that this related to the provision of specific skills.  For example, project support teams, currently deployed to the Covid-19 response, needed to be brought back into the FF2024 programme in order to deliver on outcomes and planned timescales.  In terms of support for new employees in the circumstances of the move to home working and increased reliance on digital communication, Ms Hepburn gave assurance that for new employees there would be a blended approach with a proper induction programme in place to build team relationships.  People Plans contained measures for succession planning, avoidance of Single Points of Failure and handover to new staff usually taking the form of hands-on shadowing.  With regard to effective communication to staff and the fact that a large proportion of frontline staff still did not have access to the Council’s IT network, Ms Hepburn advised that solutions were currently being looked at within the digital strand of FF2024.  The Chairman thanked Ms Hepburn for her attendance and presentation.



NOTED the presentation.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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