Building a Risk Management Team (RMT)
Vol. 3 No. 1
Risk management is everyone’s responsibility. However, it inevitably comes down to the School Head as to whether there is a proper risk management plan in action or not.
But, the Head cannot be the Lone Ranger in risk management. By creating an overarching Risk Management Team (RMT), your school will reduce its risks—the more minds the better, as they say. The Head is responsible for setting the process of the committee in motion. It is his/her job to collaborate with the Board President and Business Manager to build the foundation and to select the participants for the team.
The first step is to determine the scope of the team's reach. The School Head and Board President will need to clarify the parameters of the committee’s responsibilities and identify any out-of-bounds issues that should be handled only through Board review. Out-of-bounds issues might be employment-related risks and endowment management policies.
Meet with the Business Manager. As Business Manager's are typically at the hub of the most school activities in some way, they are key members of every school's team and must understand his/her critical role.
Form the committee. The committee’s job is to determine where your school stands regarding risk management. Committee members will review every aspect of school operations, assess the degree of risk exposure, and identify and evaluate current risk management techniques. The most effective way to select candidates for these tasks is to consider including a mixture of representatives.
- School attorney
- Faculty and staff
- Local first responders (EMS, fire, police, public health)
- Facilities Director (grounds/maintenance)
- Medical professional
Identify current risk management strategies. Your school should already have an established Risk Management Plan. (If it doesn’t, read our article Crisis Planning–It’s Your Job.) Perhaps assign your Business Manager to collect that information, any previous risk assessments, insurance policies, records on claims, and safety procedures and policies. The team will need these to evaluate and to set the stage for creating the three subsidiary teams (prevention, response, and recovery).
Finally, give the committee its charge. This team will perform an initial risk assessment to identify concerns and determine which risks present the greatest exposure to the school; that is, which risks should be addressed first (triaging). It will also develop general overarching goals for the Crisis Plan.
This list of concerns would naturally include issues of safety such as region specific weather or geo-hazards, neighborhood, open campus, proximity to railroads, highways or water, athletics and fields, transportation, facilities, harassment/bullying/sexual misconduct and the like.
Once the larger issues and concerns are identified and broad goals developed, this group then would select subsidiary teams. These teams are tasked with the responsibility of further assessing risk (on a more detailed level) as it relates to their perspectives (Prevention/Safety, Response, and Recovery) and to create procedures and protocols to address these.
Additional ISM resources of interest:
Collection: Risk Management: Audit (e-book)
Private School News Vol. 10 No. 7 School Shooting Lawsuit Raises Risk Management Concerns
ISM’s Monthly Update for Risk Manager’s Vol. 1 No. 3 Managing Risk With Basic Drills
ISM’s Monthly Update for Business Managers Vol.10 No. 2 Reducing Student Risk With Up-To-Date Medical Records
Additional ISM resources for Consortium Gold members
I&P Vol. 35 No. 12 Does Your Crisis Plan Really Protect Your Students (and School)?
I&P Vol. 30 No. 12 Lessons From Katrina: Disaster Planning at Private-Independent Schools