Risk management for academy trustees

Throughout 2023, Price Bailey’s Academies team will be hosting a series of Regulatory Insight webinars aimed at supporting academy trusts.

In a recent webinar, Tom Meeks, Head of our Academies team and a Partner at Price Bailey, explored the roles that academy trust members, trustees and governors can play in mitigating risk.

What is risk and how can you make the best use of your governance structure to help mitigate it?

No matter the structure of your educational institution, it is crucial to have effective risk management in place. MATs, in particular, face the added complexity of managing risk across multiple schools, which demands a more cohesive and unified approach, as well as cooperation from board members, academic staff and other stakeholders.

Given the past few years of unforeseen challenges for many schools, it is important that you take the time to re-visit your risk management procedure.

How is risk defined?

“Potential events which reduce the likelihood of achieving organisational objectives…”

How can you manage risk?

  • Internal control processes
  • Transfer to 3rd party (insurance)
  • Contingency planning
  • Withdrawal from unacceptably ‘risky’ activities (depending on appetite)

Identifying how to manage risk is ultimately the responsibility of the trust board, and is not always an exact science. To support you in this, we are hosting an Insight webinar covering risk management on the 10 October 2023. Details for this event can be accessed on our events page.

What are the benefits of risk management?

  • Reduces the risk of shocks and unwelcome surprises
  • Allows you to focus on organisational priorities
  • Supports you in strategic and business planning
  • Improves you financial management
  • Promotes the role of the Internal Auditor

Perhaps most importantly, effective risk management will also promote a culture of continuous improvement. All academy trusts should be striving for this and as the world changes around us, this will benefit all stakeholder groups.

What are the structures of risk management?

Risk management structures are fundamentally owned by the trust, however along with the many responsibilities of trustees this ‘ownership’ can be delegated. Whether it is to a finance committee, audit committee, Local Governing Body, or other committee such as premises, curriculum or HR committee, each will play their part in effective risk management.

Put simply, everyone involved in a trust has a responsibility to contribute towards managing risk. Hopefully, by doing this successfully they can support you in fulfilling your role as a trustee and also make the role of trustee seem more appealing to volunteers who ultimately provide their time freely.

If you are interested in attending our webinars hosted by our academy experts, you can sign up by visiting our events page here.

We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.


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