Risk Management Policy

Risk management encompasses the culture, process and supporting structures that enable organisations to identify, assess, evaluate, treat, monitor and communicate risk.  The objective of risk management is to minimise loss and maximise opportunity.  In 2012 Girl Guides Australia published a Risk Management Policy, Procedure and Guidelines, which is available on SGGO websites.  The Policy is reviewed annually by GGA.  Set out below is an extract from the Risk Management Policy statement.

Risk Management is the culture, process and structure that is directed towards the effective management of potential opportunities and adverse effects within the Girl Guide environment.

For over 100 years, Guiding has been an important and successful part of the Australian community. Girl Guides Australia (GGA) is committed to ensuring that it maintains the best practice standards expected by the general community.

Risk management has always been a strong focus for GGA in its delivery of programs for young people. This Policy formalises the risk management processes already in place and importantly, incorporates those that have traditionally been classified as general management practices outside the risk management framework. Additionally, new processes designed to align with the Australian/New Zealand Standard 13000/2009 – Risk Management (Standard) have been incorporated to present a single, comprehensive policy for GGA. The broad approach outlined in this GGA Risk Management Policy, including definitions and processes, is based on information contained in the Standard.

As an organisation committed to the safety of our members and children, Girl Guiding in Australia wants to empower girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. GGA achieves this by delivering the Girl Guide/Girl Scout method to girls and young women through innovative, fun and relevant programs, and a great team of volunteers supported by an effective and efficient organisation. GGA has always placed a high emphasis on its ability to deliver these programs in practical and safe environments.

Risk is inherent in most aspects of Guiding, whether it involves running a Unit meeting, undertaking Guide hall maintenance, taking Guides on camp, working with parents, determining District Team priorities, purchasing new camping equipment or deciding not to take any action at all. All those involved in Guiding manage risk continuously, sometimes consciously and sometimes without realising it, but not always in a systematic way. At times the nature of risk is apparent, such as in conducting an abseiling exercise. At other times, risk will not be so apparent and may manifest in the form of new legislation or policy change. Our framework for risk will ensure appropriate measures are in place for managing and mitigating risk to support our risk appetite.

Risk management is fundamental to all volunteer and staff members of GGA and all risk associated with organisational functions and activities must be managed systematically. This includes managing risks that are both internal and external to GGA and managing those risks in the same systematic way.

Risk Assessment can be used as a means of enhancing planning by indicating benefits and consequences that may result if the proposal or plan is not adopted or endorsed. This Policy details how assessments of identified risks must be documented as a risk statement where the level of Risk may be high or may present a threat to the organisation. Once an assessment of this nature is made, further action may be required at another level in the organisation in order to minimise or remove any Risk.

Risk management is an iterative process consisting of steps, which, when undertaken in sequence, enable continual improvement in decision making.

This Policy is reviewed every year by GGA.

September 2015

The GGA policy formalised the risk management processes already in place and is aligned with the Australian/New Zealand Standard 13000/2009 on risk management.  This comprehensive and high quality approach to risk management aims to give Managers, Leaders and other volunteers confidence to carry out their roles, without the fear of legal action or harm.

Risk is inherent in Guiding, whether it involves running a Unit meeting, undertaking meeting place maintenance, taking Guides on camp, dealing with parents, taking part in community activities, promoting Guiding in the local newspaper, or deciding not to take any action at all.  At times the nature of the risk is apparent but at other times it may not be, for example regulation compliance or reputational risk.  The important thing to remember is that risk is NOT just about the activities the girls undertake.  Risks might be related to:

  • core youth activities – running Unit meetings, taking girls and Leaders on camp and undertaking adventure activities
  • occupational health, safety and welfare – injury, illness, accidents, food poisoning and administering medication
  • child protection – police checks, child collection procedures, parent / guardian authorisation for camps and medications, social media safety, permission for photos, publicity and transport
  • volunteer management – references, police checks, qualifications, approvals, Code of Conduct compliance, volunteer vacancies, non-completion of qualifications, currency of appointments
  • information technology and records – confidentiality of member records, security of database, loss of data, use of social media and creation of Internet sites
  • property and asset management – property and equipment maintenance, safety of equipment and property, shared use of properties, lease agreements, loss of a building or other facility, breakdowns of equipment and purchasing new equipment
  • financial matters – subs, budgets, audits, embezzlement of fundraising monies, cash management and level of Unit membership
  • reputational – association with undesirable businesses through unwise sponsorship, publicity, ongoing Leader turnover / instability or failure of emergency management

A Risk Register records identified risks and is maintained by the Risk Management Committee in each State and by GGA as a whole.  At a Region level you may need to address issues identified in the State Risk Register.

Risk management is critical, because the risk management a District Manager does is very different from the risk management Unit Leaders do for specific activities. DMs take an operational risk analysis approach. DMs must do risk management of on-going operations and political, financial, reputation and organisational risks. These are much more important than the risks of minor injury that most Unit risk management plans cover and most people shy away from considering such things because it’s scary.

Quote from Leader of Adults Survey, L&D Project, 2013


Guide Lines – www.guidelinesforgirlguides.org.au

Adhering to the policies in Guide Lines, minimises the risk which the organisation might be exposed to.  It allows us to undertake our activities knowing that we are doing it the right way. The policies which are most relevant to risk management are summarised below.  Please refer to the Guide Lines website for full details of these policies all current policy information, and resources/tools.

  • Administering medication – Leaders must have written permission before administering prescription or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Child protection – all children must be protected according to relevant State legislation.
  • Copyright – all members must adhere to the Copyright Act 1968.
  • Food handling – all members must follow relevant State and local legislation.
  • Internet – applies to all members.
  • Politics – no members should take part in political activities in uniform.
  • Privacy – information collected must be used for Guiding purposes only and held securely.
  • Risk management – Leaders and Managers must assess and manage the risks associated with Guiding activities.
  • Sponsorship – members participating in a sponsored event must have the approval of the District Manager. All sponsorship should be arranged in conjunction with the State Girl Guide Office.
  • Social media – applies to adult and youth members, volunteers and employees.

Last Modified: 17/05/21 at 11:31 AM