I have just met Lynton Green, the Treasurer of Warrington Council. We talked about Risk Management and its application to the management of change. Many radical changes are being explored by Warrington Council in an effort to maintain services within ever tighter financial restrictions.

They are including Risk Management right from the start in the process of scrutinising new (and old) proposals. They are not pretending risks do not exist, but they are not so scared of every risk that they cannot do anything.  They are seeking cost-effective ways of managing risks and looking at them in the light of potential savings or other benefits.

One thing we agreed on was that the alternative approaches are far from risk-free. What alternatives? You ask. Either putting your head in the sand and hoping the country’s economic problems will go away, or merely continuing to cut a percentage off every budget, like slicing salami. This usually means cutting risk-control measures such as repairs, maintenance, inspection, training, supervision and staffing levels. So if anything does go wrong as a result of implementing any new ideas, let us remember how much more would have probably gone wrong had they not been implemented.

It was refreshing to come across an organisation that takes risk management seriously, but is not afraid to experiment. There is a lesson there for every organisation, large or small.