Australia Day

26 January 2015

96 days to go

Risk Management Template

This step-by-step risk management template provides you with detailed information on key stages and processes you could use to identify and analyse risks. You can use the template like a check list. You will need to modify it for use in your context.

Step one: Risk identification

Identify possible risks by: 

Reviewing written information

  • By reviewing documents such as communication strategies, programs of events, guest lists, contracts, insurance policies, and permits and licences prior to the event, you can identify potential areas of risk
  • By reviewing insurance policies you may discover an event you are planning is only partially covered by your existing policy.

Organising meetings with stakeholders, emergency personnel, risk assessment specialists, contractors and your own staff

  • Meeting with sponsors can allow you to confirm their expectations about the level of acknowledgment and involvement they will have with your event—this will minimise misunderstandings and help to ensure sponsors are happy with the event and their contribution
  • Meeting with risk assessment specialists, emergency personnel and contractors can provide insight into areas of risk that you had not previously considered—these people, along with your own staff, will have a variety of previous experience and  knowledge about what has gone well and what has gone wrong in previous events. This can help you to identify added risk for your event.

Surveying the site/sites

  • It can be very useful to walk through the facility to identify risks. A walk through can reveal risks that may not have been displayed on maps or reports. For example, a site survey may reveal an overflowing storm drain in an area you had planned for pedestrians, or branches of a large tree that will obscure the view of a staging area.

Conducting cause and effect/effect and cause analysis

  • Cause and effect—this model involves identifying something that may occur in the event, and determining what the outcomes might be
  • Take the example above, an overflowing storm drain in a pedestrian walkway. This is the cause. You then identify the possible effects of that on you and your event, for example, pedestrians are annoyed, complaints to your organisation, damage to personal property, pedestrians find an alternate route that damages protected parkland etc
  • Effect and cause—this process identifies worst case scenarios and determines what may cause those scenarios to occur. For example, sponsor dissatisfaction is an effect. Possible causes may include inadequate placement and size of logos on promotional material or lack of references made to sponsor in speeches.

Step two: Risk evaluation

  • Once you identify the risks, you can list them in order of importance
  • Give risks priority based on the likelihood of their occurrence and the severity of their consequences
  • For example, a risk that is likely to occur and has major consequences should be given greater attention and priority than a risk that is unlikely to occur and has minor effects.

Step three: Risk control

Once you have rated and assessed the risks, it is vital that you develop plans to control those risks to the extent that you are able to.

Here are some ways to control your risk, according to McDonnell, Allen and O’Toole’s 1999 book Festival and Special Event Management:

  • Cancel or avoid the risk—wherever possible, attempt to remove the risk. In some cases, where the risk is too great, it may be necessary to cancel all or part of an event
  • Diminish the risk—if risks can't be eliminated, attempt to minimise them
  • Reduce the consequences of the risk—prepare quick and efficient responses to foreseeable problems
  • Have back-up plans—when something goes wrong, have an alternative plan ready to save the situation
  • Distribute the risk—if the risk can be spread across different areas, its impact will be reduced. For example, spreading cash-taking areas so any theft is contained, is a way to distribute risk
  • Transfer the risk—you can transfer risk to other groups by making them responsible for event components. For example, subcontractors are usually required to share in the liability of the event by taking responsibility for the safety of their equipment and the actions of their staff.

Step four: Review of risk control strategy

  • Few risks remain static therefore it’s important you monitor risks, the effectiveness of the risk control strategy and the overall risk management plan
  • It is also important to develop risk management documentation to ensure that all staff are working to the same plan. This documentation can also help with purchasing insurance, may reduce premiums and is a good way to plan for the future.