School councils should be monitoring potential risks and managing them correctly!
Risk management is an important part of any organisation but especially those, like schools, that are exposed to a number of risks at any given time. School council members, especially those who are directors of the school, are responsible for oversight of a risk management strategy and framework and continuously monitor the effectiveness of the strategy and framework. Since the duties relating to risk management oversight are non-delegable, directors need to ensure they have an awareness of their duties and an understanding of risk management.
The constantly changing technological landscape is presenting complex and evolving risks in schools than ever before. Social media is a perfect example of this, providing a public platform for the exchange and potential misuse of information. That is why it is crucial to establish guidelines for how and when social media will be used in schools and for monitoring that use as closely as possible. This will help protect both the school and its students.
In addition, cyber security can also pose a significant risk for schools. Cyber threats can be either deliberate or accidental, and can often cause interruption to critical operations as well as the school’s curriculum.
Such threats can also expose personal and sensitive information of students, teachers and other staff, often leading to significant recovery costs. For example, a threat of this nature could potentially result in personal information such as students’ names and addresses being posted on other websites where it does not belong, compromising their safety and security. This can also lead to reputational damage to the school.
There are numerous other risks, not necessarily technological, that impact schools at any given time. These risks range from financial, reputational, regulatory and legal, to health and safety, human resource and so on.
Managing the Risk
Independent school council members should use well-appointed strategies to ensure the risk management goals are met. In addition, they are responsible for complying with rules and regulations as well as minimising the school’s exposure to risk.
Managing risk requires various groups of people to work together, including managers, directors and stakeholders who have a vested interest in the school.
Council members are tasked with developing strategies to manage risk. This involves identifying potential risks to students, teachers and staff, prioritising these risks, assessing their potential for harm and monitoring them on an ongoing basis. This makes managing risks much easier in the long run and allows council members to address any potential changes that may occur along the way.
Development of risk management strategies includes defining the risk appetite and developing risk management framework and policy. It also involve managing risk through a robust risk register and an issues reporting and identification system which compliments the risk register.