Glasgow City Council facing twelve “very high” risks

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The council face a lot of uncertainty

Twelve “very high” risks have been flagged up for Glasgow City Council including strikes, equal pay and the historic abuse inquiry. Fiscal uncertainty, IT security, poverty and inequality and the impact of the rising cost of living have also been named as dangers the council is exposed to.

The potential perils have been released in the council’s half yearly corporate risk management report with a total of 23 risks posing various levels of severity.

The most severe 12 “very high rated risks” are:

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  • Fiscal uncertainty
  • Equal pay liability
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Impact of historic abuse Inquiry
  • Impact of the rising cost of living
  • ICT security
  • Failure of key, large scale contractors / service providers
  • Major incident/ service disruption
  • Significant industrial action
  • Failure to comply with health and safety regulations
  • Failure to fulfil duty of care to children and vulnerable adults
  • Failure to deliver the capital investment programme

Other risks have been identified as high, medium or low. ‘High risks’ include teens leaving school without getting their best potential results and an insufficient response to climate and ecological emergency. They were presented at a finance and audit scrutiny committee last week. The potential severity of the risks have been judged against their impact on the council’s key strategic aims, such as delivering services and reducing poverty and inequality. They are also judged on how likely the risk is to happen.

On that score, a failure to comply with health and safety regulations was flagged as one of the biggest risks, with the report describing it as ‘Failure to implement a legally compliant and robust Health and Safety management system; a lack of effective governance arrangements, monitoring and control and lack of cooperation by Service management; lack of appropriate information and communication; lack of appropriate training.”

There are fears that millions across the UK could be pushed into fuel poverty as a result of spiking energy bills. Picture: John Devlin.There are fears that millions across the UK could be pushed into fuel poverty as a result of spiking energy bills. Picture: John Devlin.
There are fears that millions across the UK could be pushed into fuel poverty as a result of spiking energy bills. Picture: John Devlin.

The report suggests this could risk reputational damage, fatal or serious injuries, financial penalties and exposure to legal claims. It also suggested that the risk was ‘critical’ – and that its likelihood was ‘almost certain’ unless measures were taken. Speaking at the finance and audit scrutiny committee, Scottish Greens councillor Jon Molyneux said: “It is always concerning when none of the highest risk items are decreasing.” He said the risk level of equal pay liability may decrease as progress is being made and asked if other risks might decrease in the future.

An official said: “Certainly there are one or two of the risk titles, which may reduce in time. I can assure you that services when reviewing these risks are constantly looking at the mitigations and control actions in place and working hard to identify further mitigations that can bring the risk down.”

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A council report said: “The council’s corporate risk management framework requires that a corporate risk register (CRR) is maintained to identify and manage strategic risks i.e. uncertainties that may impact the achievement of the council’s vision, strategic objectives and priorities.”

The meeting heard the corporate risk register report reflects the council’s ‘grand challenges’ contained in its strategic plan.

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