New publication on risk and resilience
CfGS has published a guide on risk and resilience, which we have written to be of use to scrutiny councillors and the officers who support them.
Risk is a central part of local decision-making – but something of which councillors often have an imperfect understanding. What, for example, do we really mean when we say that local government is “risk averse”? Usually this phrase is treated as a synonym for being conservative, and wanting to preserve the status quo. But what if keeping things as they are is more risky than making a change?
Local government’s challenge lies in understanding risk better, and learning when and how taking calculated risks can be beneficial. This “risk appetite” is something that elected politicians need to decide upon themselves. It cuts to the heart of the political leadership of the authority.
This leadership is not just a matter for Cabinet. Scrutiny has an important role too – understanding risk and using their powers to challenge officers, and the executive, to develop a more robust “risk culture”. Scrutiny can bring a different perspective to the consideration of risk – challenging assumptions and unpicking the evidence used to informed risk-based decision-making.
This publication is the companion piece to a technical guide we produced on social return on investment, and is the second publication in a series of three which engages in depth with the need to improve the role and function of scrutiny in local government.