Belgium: Small in size, big in Risk Management

By Josiane van Waesberghe

Introduction

When you look at Belgium on a map, it barely registers. Its small size belies a country with much sought after CEOs and, since the beginning of this year, an internationally acclaimed risk management approach for the public sector.

Origins of the approach

The approach as used by the Belgian Federal Government Service Mobility & Transport received the 2009 European Strategic Risk Award for best risk management approach in the public sector. The development was started in 2002 and the methodology continues to be written and improved on by the original authors, Ben Broeckx, an experienced advisor in risk management systems together with Josiane Van Waesberghe, the Chief Audit Executive of Mobility & Transportation and member of PRIMO. Through the open approach taken in the development process, the authors saw multiple parties from both public and private sector assisting in the development by suggesting incremental changes. The methodology was tested and approved by the management committee in 2005, rebranded to ‘MobiRisk’ and reinforced by re-approval during 2008.

Added value of MobiRisk

Rolled out across the entire organisation, MobiRisk not only provides an adequate basis for sign-off by the president but also, by means of its organization-wide risk model and its risk control matrices, a full fledged management tool, based on which managers can develop their own plans taking into account the actual and potential risks they face.

Advantages of MobiRisk

The approach is scalable: An organization can start by implementing it in one department, and slowly and at its own pace spread it over the organization. The approach is cost-effective: after the initial first-time-through investment the risk model can be updated at a minimal cost as part of day-to-day management activities. The approach is inclusive: this is a true bottom-up approach where issues are driven by operational people working in the field, not by a management team with little direct knowledge of the challenges. The approach can feed internal audit: the methodology clearly delineates roles and responsibilities of internal audit.

 For more information on the approach, please visit the risk management blog at risk.mobirisk.org