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Risk Management Reaps Rewards For Wellington

Strategy takes out top award at this years Municipal Association of Victoria annual conference

By Karen Gregory - 4th November 2002 - Back to News

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An innovative risk management strategy to enhance and protect the interests of residents and employees at Wellington Shire Clouncil has taken out a top award at this yearís Municipal Association of Victoria annual conference.

Wellington received the Liability Risk Management Excellence Award after unveiling a strategy thatís minimising hazards and associated risks at a time when local government is facing ongoing reform and enormous change in public perception.

The new process has elevated Wellingtonís Local Government risk management rating from 73rd out of 78 Victorian Councils with a score of 59% to a rating of 3rd with a score of 92%.

Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Webb, who attended the MAV Conference, said that risk management was an integral part of good management practice.

"We have managed to implement sound risk management practices at a time when the pressure to cope with increased insurance liability is intense. Both public and private sector business have been reeling under the blow of a huge increase in premiums, while the new Wellington strategy resulted in significant cost savings in insurance premiums and potential claims to an estimated value of a minimum of $150,000.

"This can be attributed to better decision making processes, good management practices and having a pro-active, rather than a reactive, approach to issues."

"The need to keep up with the dynamic nature of local government, changing public demand, increased litigation, competing priorities, etcetera, meant that risk management had to become a part of Councilís culture. To ensure that these issues became the responsibility of every staff member of Council, risk management had to be integrated into Councilís philosophy, practices and business plans, rather than being viewed or practiced as a separate program.

"The benefit of Council's decision to take an innovative approach to risk management has significantly elevated Council in its rating in Local Government, by the reduction of its liability exposure and an increase in its occupational health and safety rating. "

"Itís great to see that our peers agree with our approach and have recognised our achievement in this regard."

In preparing its strategy, Council considered:

  • The need to keep the public safe and Councilís "Duty of Care".
  • The need to keep Council employees safe under its legal obligation under the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1985.
  • The need to protect and maintain Council assets.
  • The need to preserve business continuity.

Mr Webb said much of the work on the strategy had been carried out by Risk Management Co-ordinator Don Rabbah, who conducted staff surveys and questionnaires to identify the perception of staff and management of the Council's exposure to risk, the adequacy of the controls in place to manage those risks and any areas with higher exposure to risk.

Mr Rabbah also received a letter of commendation from the MAV for his development of the strategy.


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