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Effective recovery from a major incident

Zurich Municipal recently released its Housing Risk and Response report, a significant element of which focuses on the emerging dynamics of major incidents in the social housing sector. The report examines the changing nature of major incidents, identifies how shifting dynamics can expose the sector as a whole to new risks and examines its capacity to successfully manage them.

When conducting the research, Zurich looked at how risks have continued to develop, building on our initial audit of the sector from 2010. When compiling this report they asked chief executives and senior managers across the sector what they considered to be the biggest risks facing their organisations over the next few years and how well prepared they are to cope and recover.

The results have been compared with our own expert views, as well as the general public’s perceptions and concerns.

The report, including new research developed in association with Ipsos MORI found that:

  • 54% of the leaders surveyed believe that there is an increasing risk that their organisation will have to deal with a major incident in the next three years and
  • the sector will face an increase in major incident risk over the next five years, across a number of areas but particularly around three emerging areas of concern,
    - supply chain failure
    - governance failure and
    - major fire/explosion.

With the current economic climate forcing organisations into increasingly complex financial models, their chance of surviving and recovering from the immediate and longer-term effects of major incidents is significantly compromised. With these new challenges, long-term stability and confidence in the sector are more important than ever.

Risk and Response gives housing associations an opportunity to reflect on their own capabilities in the context of the prevailing environment.

Reducing the cost of risk in the era of austerity

19 April 2012

Zurich Municipal has published a paper entitled “Reducing the cost of risk in an era of austerity - complexities of long-term savings in risk and insurance”. This paper has been written for readership spanning the wider public sector and has a resonance for housing associations working within those market dynamics.

The paper asserts that for both the public and private sectors, managing risk is an essential part of managing business. In a time of financial restrictions, organisations can only achieve sustainable cost reductions in their risk programmes by understanding their total cost of risk and the factors that affect it such as where to invest in risk management and how to improve your overall risk profile.

Find out more about reducing the cost of risk in the era of austerity (PDF, 542kb opens new window)

Supply Chain Management

17 January 2012

Supply chain management can be perceived as being solely about the day to day procurement or monitoring of operational contracts, or about picking up the pieces and coping when a major supplier or partner ceases to operate. When referring to their ‘supply chain’, many Housing Associations still often refer to traditional performance indicators held in a long spreadsheet of suppliers, rather than truly understanding who they rely and depend on to deliver with or on their behalf.

The reality from a strategic perspective is that the challenges of managing an increasingly complex network of suppliers and partners can threaten organisational and business resilience and create new challenges for your overall approach to risk management. This will likely also include those key strategic reliances which are not necessarily governed and managed through a contractual arrangement.

Effective supply chain management is about:

  1. Understanding who your key suppliers / providers are from a ‘strategic’ perspective
  2. Developing linkage of key suppliers / providers with ‘value proposition’ and organisational priorities rather than just ‘spend’
  3. Ensuring different functions and business areas join and recognise risks managed in different organisations
  4. Analysing critical supply chains to understand level of complexity and resilience

Strategically and coherently managing your overall supply chain can help by ensuring fewer surprises, fostering closer cross-function understanding, positioning the organisation to take advantage of opportunities, enabling proactive rather than reactive responses to incidents and providing benchmark information for evaluating improvements and risk insights into specific aspects of supply chain.

Fundamentally, understanding the supply chain risks your Housing Association faces will help ensure a more resilient organisation that is better able to anticipate surprises, recover from disruptions, adapt to changing conditions and leverage strategic advantages for consistent delivery of objectives, corporate sustainability and financial strength.

Joseph will be expanding on this topic in a session at the upcoming Risk Management Conference in Birmingham on 1st February 2012.

Take a brief supply chain self assessment to see how you might benefit from better developing your approach in this area.

This article has been provided by Joseph White, Senior Risk Consultant from Zurich Municipal.