Importance of a Robust School Risk Management Program
Educational institutions face risks that threaten the successful delivery of their objectives to teach and protect their students. These risks come from a variety of sources, whether as a result of a natural catastrophe or a man-made event, incident or accident. We see examples of what can happen at schools throughout the country when unforeseen events occur (Oklahoma tornado, Sandy Hook, etc.) and the ramifications of these events. What’s important is to have a strong strategic school risk management program in place to help identify and address those risks. With such a program, an educational institution will be able to improve decision-making, planning and prioritization; allocate more efficiently financial and other limited resources; allow leadership to anticipate what may go wrong, minimize crisis management, or prevent a disaster or serious financial and/or reputational loss.
What’s involved in implementing a successful risk management program for schools?
Training staff and stakeholders: All staff must understand what is expected of them within the school risk management process and be properly prepared. Tailored risk management training programs for all levels of staff within a school can deliver an increased appreciation of the fundamentals of good risk management; demonstrate robust approaches through examples of good risk management practice; and provide a clearer understanding of how risk management operates.
Understanding current maturity levels: Having a clear assessment of the school’s risk maturity compared against its peers is important. This tells the school which areas need to be improved upon.
Conducting workshops: These can be used to help identify school risks and should be attended by board members and senior management teams. Interactive brainstorming encourages the consideration of school risks from different perspectives, ensuring a thorough and well thought-out school risk identification and assessment. Workshops can be used as the basis for developing structured management of school risks, and support in the evaluation and prioritization of risks.
Implementing systems to better communicate risks and streamline established processes: The communication of school risks and their mitigating actions is a critical component of the process of embedding risk management into daily school activities. An on-line risk management system can facilitate schools in addressing this component because there’s one centralized location for individuals to communicate risks as and when they are identified. The tool used should be a comprehensive, single repository for all the school’s risk registers and highlight outstanding actions to support effective monitoring. There should also be clear robust reporting for management and the board in addition to support for monitoring and testing of individual risks and controls.
Along with a strong school risk management program, having a comprehensive insurance plan in place is critical. This includes securing General Liability, Sexual Abuse and Molestation, Commercial Umbrella, Automobile, Property, AD&D and Educator Legal Liability, among other key coverages. At Caitlin Morgan, we specialize in insuring educational institutions. We also have a special Indiana Public School Package that offers a comprehensive program. For more information about our school insurance and risk management programs, please call us at 877.226.1027.