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Risk Management

Identifying Risk

Identifying risk should involve a balanced, proportionate approach which looks at acceptable/unacceptable levels of risk, taking into account the view of the adult and their family or advocate as well as those of professionals.

  • Risks can be real or potential
  • Risks can be positive or negative
  • Risks should take into account all aspects of an individual’s

Sources of Risk

Sources of risk might fall into one of the four categories below:

  • Private and family life: the source of risk might be someone like an intimate partner or a family member
  • Community based risks: this includes issues like ‘mate crime’, anti-social behaviour and gang related issues
  • Risks associated with service provision: this might be concerns about poor care which could be neglect or organisational abuse, or where a person in a position of trust because of the job they do financially or sexually exploits someone
  • Self-neglect: where the source of risk is the person themselves

The Aim of Risk Assessments

The primary aim of risk assessments is to assess:

  • current risks that people face; and
  • potential risks that they and other adults may face
  • how the adult in question wishes to deal with it

Assessments of risk abuse, neglect and exploitation should be integral in all assessment and planning processes including assessments for self-directed support and personal budget arrangements.

Risk assessments should establish:

  • the outcomes, views and wishes of the adult at risk
  • the removal or reduction of the risk if it is causing harm
  • the person’s ability to protect themselves
  • factors that contribute to the risk
  • the risk of future harm from the same source

It is the collective responsibility of all parties involved, including the adult and their family and/or advocate, to:

  • share information
  • participate in decision making to reduce/minimise risk and plan appropriate support and intervention

Any plan to manage the identified risk and to put in place safeguarding measures should always identify actions that must be taken immediately to safeguard the adult at risk and/or others.  Partner based structures that could assist the management of risk should also be considered.

It is the collective responsibility of all organisations to share relevant information, make decisions and plan intervention with the adult.  

Risk may be increased when information is not shared.

Management of Risk

The focus must be on the management of risk rather than a description of risks.  Employers need to take responsibility for the management of risk within their own organisation and share information responsibly where others may be at risk from the same source.  All organisations are responsible for supporting holistic risk management, with the adult and in partnership with other agencies.

Positive risk management needs to be underpinned by widely shared and updated contingency planning for any anticipated adverse eventualities.  This will include warning signs that indicate risks are increasing and the point at which they become unacceptable will trigger a review.