Agenda item

Strategic Risk Management Update as at January 2024

To consider the report.


The Audit Committee noted the Strategic Risk Management Update and appendices.


The Audit Committee received a strategic risk management update for Somerset Council from the Strategic Risk Manager, Pam Pursley.


The Strategic Risk Manager highlighted that the report covered the strategic risk position up to January 2024; summarised the movement and breakdown of the current 18 strategic risks, the proactive controls, reactive actions, including: the movement in ORG0062 health and safety management and the review in April 2024, the removed risks ORG0076 as the required LGR staff savings not achievable against expectation and ORG0077, the risk that new structures are not affordable and that both risks will be reassessed taking into consideration the work of the transformation programme.


The Audit Committee asked a number of questions and made a number of comments which were responded to at the meeting, as follows:


        The request for inherent risk to be included in future updates to the Committee and the JCAD report – the Strategic Risk Manager undertook to amend the report to include the risk by the next Audit Committee meeting 28 March 2024

        Expression of concern regarding the need for improved reporting across the strategic risk register to give assurance to Audit Committee that actions are in place, including: the proactive controls and reactive actions, mitigating and management of risks reporting,  the review and implementation of target dates reporting and monitoring, accountability of officers not meeting targets and organisational culture,  explanatory notes as to why targets are not met, the need for clear presentation of position and pathway to targets, improvement of Equality Impact assessments and a Council direction of travel statement. Executive Director for Corporate and Resources and Strategic Risk Manager undertook the action to address these concerns.

        Resource and time capacity for reporting of risks and the limited corporate risk management staffing resources for Somerset Council with recognition that services are responsible for updating the risk register.

        That the sustainable MTFP remains a significant risk, the effect of the control measures put into place, work and actions completed across the Council – The Executive Director Resources and Corporate Services, Jason Vaughan, and the Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Resource & Performance, Cllr Liz Leyshon, advised that it is clear that under the current financing model for Local Government the Council, in its current form,  is not financially sustainable and the need for urgent reform of the funding mechanism for Local Government is required. Additionally, that ongoing financial support from the Government will be required due to the cost of delivering services increasing significantly faster than the income the Council receives particular in relation to social care.

        The transformation programme, including the One Somerset Business savings and the revised program in response to the Council situation and the consideration of interdependency scores in relation to the restructure and reshaping of the Council.

        Strategic risk ORG0061 delivery of climate emergency and the limited resource and potential impacts of not recruiting. The Strategic Risk Manager undertook to share the risk report with Executive Lead Members.

        The process of removing the risks from the risk register and the requirement for approval and consistency across the Council.

        Consideration of a potential task and finish group to look at best practice in terms of risk register reporting and risk management.


The Committee acknowledged the work to date to improve risk reporting, and requested that Officers look to bring a risk reporting improvement plan to the Audit Committee 28 March 2024,


The Executive Director Resources and Corporate Services, Jason Vaughan, and the Service Director Finance and Procurement, Nicola Hix, acknowledged and agreed with the Audit Committee that there is work required across the Council to improve risk reporting in areas, including supporting an internal culture to improve risk reporting, the monitoring of risk and training in risk reporting, with a report to be presented for consideration to the Audit Committee on 28 March 2024.


Following consideration of the officer report, appendices and discussion, the Audit Committee noted the Strategic Risk Management Update.

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