Agenda item

Q2 Strategic Risk Report (Agenda item 11)

Report of Maxine O’Mahony, Executive Director, Strategy and Resources.


Mark Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance presented the report and provided Members with a summary of changes.


Several risks had been added to the strategic risk register since it was last seen by the Committee:


·  Sustainability strategy


·  Waste consultation


·  Leisure reopening


·  Impact of national HGV driver shortage on local critical services (waste collection).


A number of other risks had also been altered as part of the risk review:


·  The COVID-19 risk had now been broken into two specific risks related to both impacts on the district and on service delivery.


·  The GDPR risk had now been merged into the cyber security risk due to both overlapping and there no longer being a need for a specific strategic risk.


·  The investment portfolio and business rates risks had now been merged into the medium-term financial plan risk. This was because of overlapping between the risks and there not being a strong enough need for three separate strategic risks.


Ryan Pack, the Innovation & Change Business Partner pointed out that the new format had been put together following feedback from the Governance & Audit Committee.


He informed Members further to the changes above, the contract monitoring risks had been removed as it no longer met the criteria for a strategic risk. This risk had been introduced for historic reasons and no longer met the criteria as a strategic threat to the council as it was more appropriate for inclusion on the operational risk register.


Since this Committee last saw sight of the strategic risk register, it was noted that one of the most notable changes to outstanding risks was the emerging policy risk. This was specifically in relation to the impact of the Environmental bill. The bill was not as yet at a point where a separate risk needed to be considered but could occur in the future if deemed necessary.


The Council had also developed a significant risk around potential outcomes to the current waste consultation. Whilst this was a fluid situation, it was expected that the Council would at least be impacted in some significant way in relation to its current service delivery.


Councillor Clarke felt that the new layout was very helpful as it now mentioned any changes made to the risks.  He asked however, if the impact of the risk changed and once it had been reviewed by the Corporate Management Team (CMT), would it be brought to this Committee or Cabinet for discussion.  Additionally, looking at the information contained within the register, for example, the increased demand on housing services, he asked if such information would be provided to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (O&SC).

Members were informed that all risk owners updated the register on a quarterly basis, if there were any significant changes prior to that, then an interim assessment was carried out and reported to CMT, the Portfolio Holder or Cabinet.  In terms of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, key performance indicator reports were already taken to their meetings for discussion as it was important to have a joined-up approach with the Commission.


Councillor Monument was delighted with the new format but had noticed a few anomalies that she felt should be amended:


·        Page 55 of the agenda pack at the end of paragraph 1.3 should spell ‘discrete’ and not ‘discreet’.

·        Page 59 at the top of the page should read: next review ‘01/07/22’ and not ‘01/07/21’.

·        Page 60, what was the meaning of the Covid-19 exemption for drivers.  The Innovation & Change Business Partner believed that the Covid-19 exemption was for key workers if they were ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app.

·        Page 61, the fourth bullet point on the right-hand side of the table stated ‘viability to MRF’ – what did MRF stand for? Members were informed that MRF was one of the waste facilities.  The Chairman pointed out that MRF stood for Material Recycling Facility. 

·        Page 66, the next review date was incorrect and should be October 2021.

·        Page 71, the target date was incorrect and should be 2022.


The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Kybird commented on Councillor Monument’s point about the word discrete and felt that ‘defined’ or ‘distinct’ would be better words to use. Also, on page 61 there was a 5x5 risk score under the waste consultation that appeared to have a huge potential impact on this authority and apparently no way of getting round it.  Members were informed that it was a big risk to the organisation, but the waste consultation was still on-going, and no decisions had been confirmed by central government.  There were many different elements to this, and some could have a greater impact than others and Breckland Council was in the same position as many of its partners.  The Chairman pointed out that it did affect all districts in Norfolk and was a financial risk.


Mr Plaskett referred to the commentary on page 56 of the agenda pack at paragraph 1.9 where 4 new risks had been added, then at paragraph 1.10 some risks had been altered but the total number of risks was 11, notwithstanding this, the Governance & Audit Committee had raised many questions and queries over the years in respect of the quality of the Risk Register and he was delighted to report that this was now a fit for purpose register and would provide Members with a much better opportunity to monitor and question these risks going forward.


The Innovation & Change Business Partner thanked Mr Plaskett for his kind words.  The total of 11 risks was correct and the Covid-19 risk should have been added as a new risk rather than being split.


Councillor Birt also felt that the new format was much better.  He also drew attention to page 60 of the agenda pack in respect of the shortage of waste collection HGV drivers and felt that all HGV drivers should have been included in this matrix as well as staff shortages.  Also, on page 63 under the sustainability strategy he felt that there had not been much feedback or progress on this matter and asked if this was just the starting point.   On page 64, Councillor Birt had been surprised how low the impact of the Covid pandemic had been set and felt that it should be the highest risk as it was still in existence and had an impact on everyone and everything.  Lastly, page 65 was kind of related to page 64 and he expected that the Council had less influence on local businesses, communities and local and national infrastructure but was still being portrayed as a risk to the Council and asked for more explanation on this risk.


Members were informed that in respect of the HGV drivers the Council did class this as an operational risk due to staff shortages but would become a strategic issue in regard to waste collection. The Sustainability Strategy was still being worked on ahead of January’s Overview & Scrutiny Commission around project reporting that should then encapsulate these issues. In terms of the latter concerns, these comments would be taken to CMT and to the risk owner.


The Chairman said that he did not necessarily agree with Councillor Birt’s opinion on the latter matters and would wait to see what the risk owner came back with.


The contents of the report was otherwise noted.









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