Headlines: May 23rd, 2003

Most of the smaller councils which are due to be brought into the comprehensive performance assessment regime later in the year are confident of success. Some 175 councils, about 60% of the newcomers to the regime, are confident that they will make the ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ category. Only about 40 councils are concerned that they may be categorised as ‘weak’ or ‘poor’. The remainder feel that they will achieve a ‘fair’ rating. These expectations paint a somewhat more optimistic picture than the actual results from the 2002 round which only included the 150 larger councils. The survey of expectations was carried out by Zurich Municipal.The survey was designed to find out about the attitudes of Chief Executives and Finance Directors to the use of risk management strategies. The findings were that for the councils that took part in the 2002 performance assessment, 61% of respondents said that risk management played a key part in their preparations. For the councils that were graded as ‘excellent’ the figure was 81%. Responses to the survey showed that risk management is set to play an important role in the CPA process and that an ‘excellent’ rating is more likely to be achieved where sound risk management and corporate governance arrangements are already in place.

Sarah Richards, Senior Partner at Zurich Municipal Management Services said: “Risk management is really about identifying and dealing with problems and challenges in the path of business objectives and improved services. Few organizations deal with risks effectively, which means they may never reach their goals or meet the strict criteria set out in the CPA”