Round Table PRIMO Europe Brussels

Risk Survey; where to now?

Monday 5 October PRIMO Europe organised a Roundtable, during the UDiTE AGM 2009 in Brussels, to discuss the Risk Survey PRIMO Europe conducted with Marsh. Key question during this Roundtable was “Where to now”? What should we do with the outcomes of the Risk Survey? Which actions should we take and which way should we go?

The Risk Survey conducted by PRIMO Europe and Marsh gives us a clear view on the perspective of Risk Management by the leaders right now. Risk Management is becoming more and more important and at this moment Risk Management sometimes is Crisis Management.

Jack Kruf, Founding President of PRIMO Europe, points out that as a CEO/City manager you have to deal with 3 fields at the same time. “You have to juggle with, first, the political field and, second, your colleagues. Your task is to create an organisation in which people can safely discuss risks. Third, you have to deal with society. It is utterly important to sense the risks in society. What should be the strategy for PRIMO Europe and UDiTE with this in mind?”

Philippe Auzimour (Marsh) and Byron Davies (UDiTE) both agree that we should learn from best practices. “It is important to compare ourselves with similar sized cities and try to benchmark; how do other cities deal with Risk Management? PRIMO’s task is to facilitate and to inform. Risk Management is not addressed at a European level, PRIMO can facilitate this.

In all public governments we face interfacing politics, reduced resources and the public that constantly focuses on us as the government. With the UDiTE and PRIMO alliance we can bring knowledge to the CEO level. A lot of leaders are searching for relevant information about Risk Management strategies and techniques. By sharing best practices to learn from each other, PRIMO can make a difference. Risk Management takes a long time of getting embedded in to normal management”.

Martin van Staveren, PhD. Risk Management, Twente University, The Netherlands, stressed it is necessary to do research. In this way you can create awareness. “The European force is stronger than the national force. We need to practice standards and learn from each other on how to use them. Frameworks are just a mean, you should have a structure”.

 Such a standard is utterly important, Ed Mallens (PRIMO Europe) agrees. “The ISO 31000 is the standard framework in the Netherlands. We need more information and tools to implement the framework and to establish the principles of Risk Management. Therefore, we must understand what Risk Management is. Risk isn’t always a threat; it can also be a possibility. The name public value management instead of Risk Management can reduce the negative feeling that comes with the name.”

Tom Wustenberghs, President of PRIMO Europe adds: “It is important to work on awareness and to build a framework to develop quality systems. We need a system and a cultural approach. The ISO 31000 should be part of the organisation culture. I think such a standard is of added value. It will help us prevent that we all work on our own and do everything ourselves. We should learn from each other and hand over tools. In this way we can really learn from each others best practices”.

Jack Kruf recapitulates: We should manage the public liability and work on how to implement Risk Management in an organisation. We are just at the beginning of our connectivity with science, partners and colleagues. Risk Management should be at the management level. We should link PRIMO Europe to Euro cities and try to make PRIMO Europe advisor.

We can conclude that we face quite a challenge. Make Risk Management implemented even more in every day management. Learn from each other, and work together to achieve the main goal.