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Understanding Risk Management Process

Discover the risk management process and assessment planning within programme design.
people playing indoor football at an event run by Save the Dream in Brazil

Alongside your situation analysis, you need to assess, manage and understand the risk management process to mitigate risk factors in your programme.

Managing Risk During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of managing risk and ensuring sports activities are safe, inclusive, and adaptable. We covered this in some detail in Week 1 here.

To reduce risk, you need to identify and analyse potential risks. The following guidelines may help:

  • Involve your participants, parents, coaches, and other key stakeholders in identifying risks and mitigation strategies
  • Consult directly with any identified at-risk groups and consider specific strategies to meet their needs
  • Use accepted standards and best practices to strengthen mitigation strategies

The next step is to consider the likelihood and potential impact of the risks identified. If risks pose a threat to participants and cannot be mitigated, the programme itself may not be viable.

Risk rating tools, such as those classifying risk by both severity and likelihood (UKA Risk Assessment Guidance, p4), can be useful in conjunction with tables that map risks identified against mitigation measures (Sport for Protection Toolkit, p48. A comprehensive review should also include a named person responsible for monitoring the risk and the impact the risk could have on the project (e.g Vanuatu Sport for Development Design Document, p45).

These tools are referred to as risk management matrices. It is important to keep a risk matrix (or risk register) that is maintained and updated regularly. This is especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managing Risk

Risk considerations, and having a system to respond to any concerns, are particularly important when children or vulnerable groups are involved in your initiative. For example, recruitment screening and criminal record checks for those working with participants are important first steps for any initiative but become even more important for safeguarding vulnerable groups.

International standards for risk management (ISO31000) highlight the importance of assessing and identifying risk at all levels of programme design, while also including further wide-ranging risks such as reputational, technical, operational, and geopolitical risk.

In addition, there will be local requirements for risk mitigation, such as local laws and cultures, formal operational insurance plans, and authorisation of research conduct through national research board approval.

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Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

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