Peter Andrews announces the launch of ALARM's annual awards for risk management excellence in the public sector

The turn of a new year is often a period of reflection - a time to look back on the achievements of the past 12 months and contemplate the lessons to be learnt. The public sector risk community is no different, and practitioners have the opportunity to share their experiences.

ALARM, the national forum for risk management in the public sector, is launching its annual awards for risk management excellence. These celebrate the achievements in risk management throughout the public sector in 2005 - and we already know there is much to celebrate. ALARM has been working in partnership with the Audit Commission on research to find evidence of specific risk management initiatives that have made a difference to the way that services are delivered, both in local government and beyond.
In a series of workshops run throughout the country, ALARM members have demonstrated time and again the positive contribution risk management is making to the way that the public sector is working. From using risk management to refocus budget allocation, to supporting the delivery of major projects and reducing sickness absence, risk management is having a genuine impact on all areas of the public sector.

Risk managers are no longer just advocating risk management; they are demonstrating how a risk-based approach can transform how an organisation works. In many parts of the public sector enterprise risk management is no longer just a concept, but is becoming the way to do business.

However, that positive message often does not get through to the wider public. Risk practitioners are often reluctant to speak too loudly of their successes. This is where ALARM sees awards for excellence making a valuable contribution. We know that risk management is making a difference; it is time we celebrated the achievements of risk practitioners and the organisations they work for.

ALARM is committed to celebrating the success of risk practitioners throughout the public sector. We are proud to support the StrategicRISK European Risk Management Awards, as well as running our own series of awards specifically aimed at the public sector. The two award schemes are not mutually exclusive, and indeed many organisations submit applications for both - and are successful in each.

Last year the winning organisation in StrategicRISK's Best Risk Management Approach in the Public Sector category was also highly successful in the ALARM National Public Sector Awards - with its risk manager winning the prestigious ALARM Risk Manager of the Year award.

The Risk Manager of the Year is indeed a prestigious accolade, as it considers the achievements of an individual in an organisation and the contribution their drive and commitment have made to the risk management ethos. The successful applicant can look forward to taking part in an exchange programme with an American public entity, as well as attending the American conference (this year in Las Vegas). Past winners have found the exchange programme and the year as title holder to be extremely beneficial.
ALARM's National Public Sector Risk Management Awards, with the exception of the Risk Manager of the Year, are open to all risk practitioners working in the public sector, not just ALARM members.


There are five award categories.

- PEOPLE: awarded to an initiative that significantly improves the management of risks to any group of people or staff with which the organisation comes into contact. This award is sponsored by Capita Absence Management Ltd.

- ASSETS: awarded to an initiative that significantly improves the management of the risks associated with any asset of the organisation, excluding people risks. Zurich Municipal sponsors this award.

- STRATEGIC: awarded to a risk management initiative that significantly contributes to the achievement of the organisation's strategic objectives.
This award is sponsored by Zurich Municipal.

- OPERATIONAL: awarded where the improvement or introduction of systems to manage risks improves the management of operational risks. This award is sponsored by St. Paul Travelers.

- RISK MANAGER OF THE YEAR: awarded to an individual who can demonstrate significant achievement in the field of risk management in the period January 2005 to December 2005. This award is sponsored by Risk Management Partners. Applicants for this award must be current ALARM members.

The judges look for innovative approaches and evidence of tangible benefits, irrespective of the size of the organisation or the resources ploughed into the initiative. Applications need to be submitted by 31 March 2006 and full details of the ALARM awards are on our website,

We look forward to a year where risk practitioners put themselves forward and get the recognition they deserve.

Peter Andrews is chairman of ALARM: the national forum for risk management in the public sector.