Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Five Minutes to Think About Risk

I know, I know. You are just back from holiday and your email inbox is full, and there are a whole lot of papers on your desk and in your pigeon-hole that you don't know about. "There are so many better things to think about than risk."

No - there aren't. Since the change to the Handbook from the Code of Conduct, the BSB has made every member of chambers responsible for the good management of the set - not just the Head of Chambers. It is as much your responsibility that chambers can survive a risk - and not just for boring regulatory reasons. This is your career, remember, and if chambers doesn't survive a problem/disaster/accident/catastrophe then perhaps your career will go the same way at the same time. Particularly if you happen to be on the Management Committee too...

So - a five minute primer on risk.

  1. You will have a Risk Policy and a Risk Register? Surely? If you're not sure, then contact your administrator or Senior Clerk or Head of Chambers and ask. Ask to see it. Ask when it was last updated.
  2. Make sure that the Risk Register has been updated in the last two years - and make sure that someone somewhere has looked at the the Register and made some changes to address and reduce the risk of these risks happening.
  3. Think about the different things that could happen:
    1. What would happen if the building went on fire, or flooded? Where are the computer servers (and even if you use hosted services, you will have servers if only for printing etc)? Are their settings backed up. Where is your data stored? Is it backed up? If you use a Remote Host - ask to see proof that they backup your data and that they have done a test restore. Where would you have tomorrow's conferences. Do the clerks have their own computers so that they can access remote systems from home if necessary?
    2. What would happen if was arrested for non-payment of VAT? Do you have a PR strategy in place? Do you have access to a PR person? Have you got an account with them?
    3. What would happen if your Administrator dropped down dead on the day that the salaries are supposed to be paid? Who has access to banking systems? Who knows which bank chambers deals with?
    4. What would happen if the building next door was destroyed in a fire? Are you insured for the secondary interruption to business that you are now faced with? When was the last time that someone went through what is and isn't insured with your broker? Who knows who the broker is?
  4. If you're not happy with what you find then report it to the Management Committee and ask them to address it. 
There - you can do most of that in 5 minutes.

The point is that risk matters. You do actually need to think about the sort of things that might happen - and then do something about it.

Do Risk Policy/Risk Register or no-one who knows what they are? Is your Register out of date, or just not very good? Get in touch today - I can help. Email or call 07885 901297.

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