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A Risk Management Standard

Published by IRM: 2002

This Risk Management Standard is the
result of work by a team drawn from the
major risk management organisations in
the UK, including the Institute of Risk
management (IRM).

In addition, the team sought the views and
opinions of a wide range of other
professional bodies with interests in risk
management, during an extensive period of
consultation.

Risk management is a rapidly developing
discipline and there are many and varied
views and descriptions of what risk
management involves, how it should be
conducted and what it is for. Some form of
standard is needed to ensure that there is an
agreed:

• terminology related to the words used
• process by which risk management can be

carried out
• organisation structure for risk management
• objective for risk management
Importantly, the standard recognises that
risk has both an upside and a downside.

Risk management is not just something for
corporations or public organisations, but
for any activity whether short or long
term. The benefits and opportunities

should be viewed not just in the context of
the activity itself but in relation to the
many and varied stakeholders who can be
affected.

There are many ways of achieving the
objectives of risk management and it would
be impossible to try to set them all out in a
single document. Therefore it was never
intended to produce a prescriptive standard
which would have led to a box ticking
approach nor to establish a certifiable
process. By meeting the various
component parts of this standard, albeit in
different ways, organisations will be in a
position to report that they are in
compliance. The standard represents best
practice against which organisations can
measure themselves.

The standard has wherever possible used
the terminology for risk set out by the
International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) in its recent
document ISO/IEC Guide 73 Risk
Management – Vocabulary – Guidelines for
use in standards.

In view of the rapid developments in this
area the authors would appreciate feedback
from organisations as they put the standard
into use (addresses to be found on the back
cover of this Guide). It is intended that
regular modifications will be made to the
standard in the light of best practice.

A Risk Management Standard © IRM: 2002 1

Introduction

Risk management is a central part of any
organisation’s strategic management. It is
the process whereby organisations
methodically address the risks attaching to
their activities with the goal of achieving
sustained benefit within each activity and
across the portfolio of all activities.

The focus of good risk management is the
identification and treatment of these risks.
Its objective is to add maximum
sustainable value to all the activities of the
organisation. It marshals the
understanding of the potential upside and
downside of all those factors which can
affect the organisation. It increases the
probability of success, and reduces both
the probability of failure and the
uncertainty of achieving the organisation’s
overall objectives.

Risk management should be a continuous
and developing process which runs
throughout the organisation’s strategy and
the implementation of that strategy. It
should address methodically all the risks
surrounding the organisation’s activities past,
present and in particular, future.

It must be integrated into the culture of
the organisation with an effective policy
and a programme led by the most senior
management. It must translate the
strategy into tactical and operational
objectives, assigning responsibility
throughout the organisation with each
manager and employee responsible for the
management of risk as part of their job
description. It supports accountability,
performance measurement and reward,
thus promoting operational efficiency at
all levels.

2.1 External and Internal Factors
The risks facing an organisation and its
operations can result from factors both
external and internal to the organisation.

The diagram overleaf summarises examples
of key risks in these areas and shows that
some specific risks can have both external
and internal drivers and therefore overlap
the two areas. They can be categorised
further into types of risk such as strategic,
financial, operational, hazard, etc.

A Risk Management Standard

Risk can be defined as the combination of
the probability of an event and its
consequences (ISO/IEC Guide 73).

In all types of undertaking, there is the
potential for events and consequences that
constitute opportunities for benefit (upside)
or threats to success (downside).

Risk Management is increasingly recognised
as being concerned with both positive and

negative aspects of risk. Therefore this
standard considers risk from both
perspectives.

In the safety field, it is generally recognised
that consequences are only negative and
therefore the management of safety risk is
focused on prevention and mitigation of
harm.

2

1. Risk

2. Risk Management

© IRM: 2002 3

2.1 Examples of the Drivers of Key Risks

Risk management is a central part of any
organisation’s strategic management. It is
the process whereby organisations
methodically address the risks attaching to
their activities with the goal of achieving
sustained benefit within each activity and
across the portfolio of all activities.

The focus of good risk management is the
identification and treatment of these risks.
Its objective is to add maximum
sustainable value to all the activities of the
organisation. It marshals the
understanding of the potential upside and
downside of all those factors which can
affect the organisation. It increases the
probability of success, and reduces both
the probability of failure and the
uncertainty of achieving the organisation’s
overall objectives.

Risk management should be a continuous
and developing process which runs
throughout the organisation’s strategy and
the implementation of that strategy. It
should address methodically all the risks
surrounding the organisation’s activities past,
present and in particular, future.

It must be integrated into the culture of
the organisation with an effective policy
and a programme led by the most senior
management. It must translate the
strategy into tactical and operational
objectives, assigning responsibility
throughout the organisation with each
manager and employee responsible for the
management of risk as part of their job
description. It supports accountability,
performance measurement and reward,
thus promoting operational efficiency at
all levels.

2.1 External and Internal Factors
The risks facing an organisation and its
operations can result from factors both
external and internal to the organisation.

The diagram overleaf summarises examples
of key risks in these areas and shows that
some specific risks can have both external
and internal drivers and therefore overlap
the two areas. They can be categorised
further into types of risk such as strategic,
financial, operational, hazard, etc.

A Risk Management Standard

Risk can be defined as the combination of
the probability of an event and its
consequences (ISO/IEC Guide 73).

In all types of undertaking, there is the
potential for events and consequences that
constitute opportunities for benefit (upside)
or threats to success (downside).

Risk Management is increasingly recognised
as being concerned with both positive and

negative aspects of risk. Therefore this
standard considers risk from both
perspectives.

In the safety field, it is generally recognised
that consequences are only negative and
therefore the management of safety risk is
focused on prevention and mitigation of
harm.

2

1. Risk

2. Risk Management

© IRM: 2002 3

2.1 Examples of the Drivers of Key Risks

• providing a framework for an
organisation that enables future activity
to take place in a consistent and
controlled manner

• improving decision making, planning
and prioritisation by comprehensive and
structured understanding of business
activity, volatility and project
opportunity/threat

• contributing to more efficient

use/allocation of capital and resources
within the organisation

• reducing volatility in the non essential
areas of the business

• protecting and enhancing assets and
company image

• developing and supporting people and
the organisation’s knowledge base

• optimising operational efficiency

2.2 The Risk Management Process

Risk management protects and adds value to the organisation and its stakeholders through
supporting the organisation’s objectives by:

n
oitacifi

d
o

M

Formal
Audit

The Organisation’s
Strategic Objectives

Risk Assessment

Risk Analysis
Risk Identification
Risk Description
Risk Estimation

Risk Evaluation

Risk Reporting
Threats and Opportunities

Decision

Risk Treatment

Residual Risk Reporting

Monitoring

A Risk Management Standard4

4.1 Risk Identification
Risk identification sets out to identify an
organisation’s exposure to uncertainty. This
requires an intimate knowledge of the
organisation, the market in which it operates,
the legal, social, political and cultural
environment in which it exists, as well as the
development of a sound understanding of its
strategic and operational objectives,
including factors critical to its success and the
threats and opportunities related to the
achievement of these objectives.

Risk identification should be approached
in a methodical way to ensure that all
significant activities within the organisation
have been identified and all the risks
flowing from these activities defined.
All associated volatility related to these
activities should be identified and
categorised.

Business activities and decisions can be
classified in a range of ways, examples of
which include:

• Strategic – These concern the long-term
strategic objectives of the organisation. They
can be affected by such areas as capital
availability, sovereign and political risks,
legal and regulatory changes, reputation
and changes in the physical environment.

• Operational – These concern the day-to-
day issues that the organisation is
confronted with as it strives to deliver its
strategic objectives.

• Financial – These concern the effective
management and control of the finances of
the organisation and the effects of external
factors such as availability of credit, foreign
exchange rates, interest rate movement and
other market exposures.

• Knowledge management – These concern
the effective management and control of the
knowledge resources, the production,
protection and communication thereof.
External factors might include the
unauthorised use or abuse of intellectual
property, area power failures, and
competitive technology. Internal factors might
be system malfunction or loss of key staff.

• Compliance – These concern such issues as
health & safety, environmental, trade
descriptions, consumer protection, data
protection, employment practices and
regulatory issues.

Whilst risk identification can be carried
out by outside consultants, an in-house
approach with well communicated,
consistent and co-ordinated processes and
tools (see Appendix, page 14) is likely to be
more effective. In-house ‘ownership’ of
the risk management process is essential.

4.2 Risk Description
The objective of risk description is to
display the identified risks in a structured
format, for example, by using a table. The
risk description table overleaf can be used
to facilitate the description and assessment

Risk Assessment is defined by the ISO/
IEC Guide 73 as the overall process of risk

analysis and risk evaluation.
(See appendix)

© IRM: 2002 5

4. Risk Analysis

3. Risk Assessment

• providing a framework for an
organisation that enables future activity
to take place in a consistent and
controlled manner

• improving decision making, planning
and prioritisation by comprehensive and
structured understanding of business
activity, volatility and project
opportunity/threat

• contributing to more efficient

use/allocation of capital and resources
within the organisation

• reducing volatility in the non essential
areas of the business

• protecting and enhancing assets and
company image

• developing and supporting people and
the organisation’s knowledge base

• optimising operational efficiency

2.2 The Risk Management Process

Risk management protects and adds value to the organisation and its stakeholders through
supporting the organisation’s objectives by:

n
oitacifi

d
o

M

Formal
Audit

The Organisation’s
Strategic Objectives

Risk Assessment

Risk Analysis
Risk Identification
Risk Description
Risk Estimation

Risk Evaluation

Risk Reporting
Threats and Opportunities

Decision

Risk Treatment

Residual Risk Reporting

Monitoring

A Risk Management Standard4

4.1 Risk Identification
Risk identification sets out to identify an
organisation’s exposure to uncertainty. This
requires an intimate knowledge of the
organisation, the market in which it operates,
the legal, social, political and cultural
environment in which it exists, as well as the
development of a sound understanding of its
strategic and operational objectives,
including factors critical to its success and the
threats and opportunities related to the
achievement of these objectives.

Risk identification should be approached
in a methodical way to ensure that all
significant activities within the organisation
have been identified and all the risks
flowing from these activities defined.
All associated volatility related to these
activities should be identified and
categorised.

Business activities and decisions can be
classified in a range of ways, examples of
which include:

• Strategic – These concern the long-term
strategic objectives of the organisation. They
can be affected by such areas as capital
availability, sovereign and political risks,
legal and regulatory changes, reputation
and changes in the physical environment.

• Operational – These concern the day-to-
day issues that the organisation is
confronted with as it strives to deliver its
strategic objectives.

• Financial – These concern the effective
management and control of the finances of
the organisation and the effects of external
factors such as availability of credit, foreign
exchange rates, interest rate movement and
other market exposures.

• Knowledge management – These concern
the effective management and control of the
knowledge resources, the production,
protection and communication thereof.
External factors might include the
unauthorised use or abuse of intellectual
property, area power failures, and
competitive technology. Internal factors might
be system malfunction or loss of key staff.

• Compliance – These concern such issues as
health & safety, environmental, trade
descriptions, consumer protection, data
protection, employment practices and
regulatory issues.

Whilst risk identification can be carried
out by outside consultants, an in-house
approach with well communicated,
consistent and co-ordinated processes and
tools (see Appendix, page 14) is likely to be
more effective. In-house ‘ownership’ of
the risk management process is essential.

4.2 Risk Description
The objective of risk description is to
display the identified risks in a structured
format, for example, by using a table. The
risk description table overleaf can be used
to facilitate the description and assessment

Risk Assessment is defined by the ISO/
IEC Guide 73 as the overall process of risk

analysis and risk evaluation.
(See appendix)

© IRM: 2002 5

4. Risk Analysis

3. Risk Assessment

4.3 Risk Estimation
Risk estimation can be quantitative, semi-
quantitative or qualitative in terms of the
probability of occurrence and the possible
consequence.

For example, consequences both in terms
of threats (downside risks) and
opportunities (upside risks) may be high,
medium or low (see table 4.3.1). Probability
may be high, medium or low but requires
different definitions in respect of threats and
opportunities (see tables 4.3.2 and 4.3.3).

of risks. The use of a well designed structure
is necessary to ensure a comprehensive risk
identification, description and assessment
process. By considering the consequence and
probability of each of the risks set out in the
table, it should be possible to prioritise the
key risks that need to be analysed in more

detail. Identification of the risks associated
with business activities and decision making
may be categorised as strategic, project/
tactical, operational. It is important to
incorporate risk management at the
conceptual stage of projects as well as
throughout the life of a specific project.

Examples are given in the tables overleaf.
Different organisations will find that
different measures of consequence and
probability will suit their needs best.

For example many organisations find that
assessing consequence and probability as high,
medium or low is quite adequate for their
needs and can be presented as a 3 x 3 matrix.

Other organisations find that assessing
consequence and probability using a 5 x 5
matrix gives them a better evaluation.

1. Name of Risk

2. Scope of Risk

3. Nature of Risk

4. Stakeholders

5. Quantification of Risk

6. Risk Tolerance/
Appetite

7. Risk Treatment &
Control Mechanisms

8. Potential Action for
Improvement

9. Strategy and Policy
Developments

Qualitative description of the events, their size, type,
number and dependencies

Eg. strategic, operational, financial, knowledge or compliance

Stakeholders and their expectations

Significance and Probability

Loss potential and financial impact of risk
Value at risk
Probability and size of potential losses/gains
Objective(s) for control of the risk and desired level of
performance

Primary means by which the risk is currently managed
Levels of confidence in existing control
Identification of protocols for monitoring and review

Recommendations to reduce risk

Identification of function responsible for developing strategy
and policy

A Risk Management Standard6

High Financial impact on the organisation is likely to exceed £x

Significant impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Significant stakeholder concern

Medium Financial impact on the organisation likely to be between £x and £y

Moderate impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Moderate stakeholder concern

Low Financial impact on the organisation likely to be less that £y

Low impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Low stakeholder concern

Estimation

High
(Probable)

Medium
(Possible)

Low
(Remote)

Table 4.3.1 Consequences – Both Threats and Opportunities

Table 4.3.2 Probability of Occurrence – Threats

Description

Likely to occur each year
or more than 25% chance
of occurrence.

Likely to occur in a ten
year time period or less
than 25% chance of
occurrence.

Not likely to occur in a ten
year period or less than 2%
chance of occurrence.

Indicators

Potential of it occurring several times
within the time period (for example –
ten years).
Has occurred recently.

Could occur more than once within the
time period (for example – ten years).
Could be difficult to control due to some
external influences.
Is there a history of occurrence?

Has not occurred.
Unlikely to occur.

© IRM: 2002 7

4.3 Risk Estimation
Risk estimation can be quantitative, semi-
quantitative or qualitative in terms of the
probability of occurrence and the possible
consequence.

For example, consequences both in terms
of threats (downside risks) and
opportunities (upside risks) may be high,
medium or low (see table 4.3.1). Probability
may be high, medium or low but requires
different definitions in respect of threats and
opportunities (see tables 4.3.2 and 4.3.3).

of risks. The use of a well designed structure
is necessary to ensure a comprehensive risk
identification, description and assessment
process. By considering the consequence and
probability of each of the risks set out in the
table, it should be possible to prioritise the
key risks that need to be analysed in more

detail. Identification of the risks associated
with business activities and decision making
may be categorised as strategic, project/
tactical, operational. It is important to
incorporate risk management at the
conceptual stage of projects as well as
throughout the life of a specific project.

Examples are given in the tables overleaf.
Different organisations will find that
different measures of consequence and
probability will suit their needs best.

For example many organisations find that
assessing consequence and probability as high,
medium or low is quite adequate for their
needs and can be presented as a 3 x 3 matrix.

Other organisations find that assessing
consequence and probability using a 5 x 5
matrix gives them a better evaluation.

1. Name of Risk

2. Scope of Risk

3. Nature of Risk

4. Stakeholders

5. Quantification of Risk

6. Risk Tolerance/
Appetite

7. Risk Treatment &
Control Mechanisms

8. Potential Action for
Improvement

9. Strategy and Policy
Developments

Qualitative description of the events, their size, type,
number and dependencies

Eg. strategic, operational, financial, knowledge or compliance

Stakeholders and their expectations

Significance and Probability

Loss potential and financial impact of risk
Value at risk
Probability and size of potential losses/gains
Objective(s) for control of the risk and desired level of
performance

Primary means by which the risk is currently managed
Levels of confidence in existing control
Identification of protocols for monitoring and review

Recommendations to reduce risk

Identification of function responsible for developing strategy
and policy

A Risk Management Standard6

High Financial impact on the organisation is likely to exceed £x

Significant impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Significant stakeholder concern

Medium Financial impact on the organisation likely to be between £x and £y

Moderate impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Moderate stakeholder concern

Low Financial impact on the organisation likely to be less that £y

Low impact on the organisation’s strategy or operational activities

Low stakeholder concern

Estimation

High
(Probable)

Medium
(Possible)

Low
(Remote)

Table 4.3.1 Consequences – Both Threats and Opportunities

Table 4.3.2 Probability of Occurrence – Threats

Description

Likely to occur each year
or more than 25% chance
of occurrence.

Likely to occur in a ten
year time period or less
than 25% chance of
occurrence.

Not likely to occur in a ten
year period or less than 2%
chance of occurrence.

Indicators

Potential of it occurring several times
within the time period (for example –
ten years).
Has occurred recently.

Could occur more than once within the
time period (for example – ten years).
Could be difficult to control due to some
external influences.
Is there a history of occurrence?

Has not occurred.
Unlikely to occur.

© IRM: 2002 7

4.4 Risk Analysis methods and
techniques
A range of techniques can be used to
analyse risks. These can be specific to
upside or downside risk or be capable of
dealing with both. (See Appendix, page 14,
for examples).

4.5 Risk Profile
The result of the risk analysis process can
be used to produce a risk profile which
gives a significance rating to each risk and
provides a tool for prioritising risk

treatment efforts. This ranks each identified
risk so as to give a view of the relative
importance.

This process allows the risk to be mapped
to the business area affected, describes the
primary control procedures in place and
indicates areas where the level of risk
control investment might be increased,
decreased or reapportioned.

Accountability helps to ensure that
‘ownership’ of the risk is recognised and
the appropriate management resource
allocated.

Estimation

High
(Probable)

Medium
(Possible)

Low
(Remote)

Table 4.3.3 Probability of Occurrence – Opportunities

Description

Favourable outcome is
likely to be achieved in one
year or better than 75%
chance of occurrence.

Reasonable prospects of
favourable results in one
year of 25% to 75% chance
of occurrence.

Some chance of favourable
outcome in the medium
term or less than 25%
chance of occurrence.

Indicators

Clear opportunity which can be relied
on with reasonable certainty, to be
achieved in the short term based on
current management processes.

Opportunities which may be achievable
but which require careful management.
Opportunities which may arise over and
above the plan.

Possible opportunity which has yet to be
fully investigated by management.
Opportunity for which the likelihood of
success is low on the basis of management
resources currently being applied.

When the risk analysis process has been
completed, it is necessary to compare the
estimated risks against risk criteria which
the organisation has established. The risk
criteria may include associated costs and
benefits, legal requirements, socio-

economic and environmental factors,
concerns of stakeholders, etc. Risk
evaluation therefore, is used to make
decisions about the significance of risks to
the organisation and whether each specific
risk should be accepted or treated.

A Risk Management Standard8

5. Risk Evaluation

Different levels within an organisation need
different information from the risk
management process.

The Board of Directors should:

• know about the most significant risks
facing the organisation

• know the possible effects on shareholder
value of deviations to expected
performance ranges

• ensure appropriate levels of awareness
throughout the organisation

• know how the organisation will manage a
crisis

• know the importance of stakeholder
confidence in the organisation

• know how to manage communications
with the investment community where
applicable

• be assured that the risk management
process is working effectively

• publish a clear risk management policy
covering risk management philosophy and
responsibilities

Business Units should:

• be aware of risks which fall into their area
of responsibility, the possible impacts these
may have on other areas and the
consequences other areas may have on
them

• have performance indicators which allow
them to monitor the key business and
financial activities, progress towards
objectives and identify developments which
require intervention (e.g. forecasts and
budgets)

• have systems which communicate
variances in budgets and forecasts at
appropriate frequency to allow action to be
taken

• report systematically and promptly to
senior management any perceived new
risks or failures of existing control
measures

Individuals should:

• understand their accountability for
individual risks

• understand how they can enable
continuous improvement of risk
management response

• understand that risk management and
risk awareness are a key part of the
organisation’s culture

• report systematically and promptly to
senior management any perceived new
risks or failures of existing control
measures

6.2 External Reporting

A company needs to report to its

stakeholders on a regular basis setting out

its risk management policies and the

effectiveness in achieving its objectives.

Increasingly stakeholders look to

organisations to provide evidence of

effective management of the organisation’s

non-financial performance in such areas as

community affairs, human rights,

employment practices, health and safety

and the environment.

© IRM: 2002 9

6. Risk Reporting and Communication

4.4 Risk Analysis methods and
techniques
A range of techniques can be used to
analyse risks. These can be specific to
upside or downside risk or be capable of
dealing with both. (See Appendix, page 14,
for examples).

4.5 Risk Profile
The result of the risk analysis process can
be used to produce a risk profile which
gives a significance rating to each risk and
provides a tool for prioritising risk

treatment efforts. This ranks each identified
risk so as to give a view of the relative
importance.

This process allows the risk to be mapped
to the business area affected, describes the
primary control procedures in place and
indicates areas where the level of risk
control investment might be increased,
decreased or reapportioned.

Accountability helps to ensure that
‘ownership’ of the risk is recognised and
the appropriate management resource
allocated.

Estimation

High
(Probable)

Medium
(Possible)

Low
(Remote)

Table 4.3.3 Probability of Occurrence – Opportunities

Description

Favourable outcome is
likely to be achieved in one
year or better than 75%
chance of occurrence.

Reasonable prospects of
favourable results in one
year of 25% to 75% chance
of occurrence.

Some chance of favourable
outcome in the medium
term or less than 25%
chance of occurrence.

Indicators

Clear opportunity which can be relied
on with reasonable certainty, to be
achieved in the short term based on
current management processes.

Opportunities which may be achievable
but which require careful management.
Opportunities which may arise over and
above the plan.

Possible opportunity which has yet to be
fully investigated by management.
Opportunity for which the likelihood of
success is low on the basis of management
resources currently being applied.

When the risk analysis process has been
completed, it is necessary to compare the
estimated risks against risk criteria which
the organisation has established. The risk
criteria may include associated costs and
benefits, legal requirements, socio-

economic and environmental factors,
concerns of stakeholders, etc. Risk
evaluation therefore, is used to make
decisions about the significance of risks to
the organisation and whether each specific
risk should be accepted or treated.

A Risk Management Standard8

5. Risk Evaluation

Different levels within an organisation need
different information from the risk
management process.

The Board of Directors should:

• know about the most significant risks
facing the organisation

• know the possible effects on shareholder
value of deviations to expected
performance ranges

• ensure appropriate levels of awareness
throughout the organisation

• know how the organisation will manage a
crisis

• know the importance of stakeholder
confidence in the organisation

• know how to manage communications
with the investment community where
applicable

• be assured that the risk management
process is working effectively

• publish a clear risk management policy
covering risk management philosophy and
responsibilities

Business Units should:

• be aware of risks which fall into their area
of responsibility, the possible impacts these
may have on other areas and the
consequences other areas may have on
them

• have performance indicators which allow
them to monitor the key business and
financial activities, progress towards
objectives and identify developments which
require intervention (e.g. forecasts and
budgets)

• have systems which communicate
variances in budgets and forecasts at
appropriate frequency to allow action to be
taken

• report systematically and promptly to
senior management any perceived new
risks or failures of existing control
measures

Individuals should:

• understand their accountability for
individual risks

• understand how they can enable
continuous improvement of risk
management response

• understand that risk management and
risk awareness are a key part of the
organisation’s culture

• report systematically and promptly to
senior management any perceived new
risks or failures of existing control
measures

6.2 External Reporting

A company needs to report to its

stakeholders on a regular basis setting out

its risk management policies and the

effectiveness in achieving its objectives.

Increasingly stakeholders look to

organisations to provide evidence of

effective management of the organisation’s

non-financial performance in such areas as

community affairs, human rights,

employment practices, health and safety

and the environment.

© IRM: 2002 9

6. Risk Reporting and Communication

Good corporate governance requires that
companies adopt a methodical approach to
risk management which:

• protects the interests of their stakeholders

• ensures that the Board of Directors
discharges its duties to direct strategy, build
value and monitor performance of the
organisation

• ensures that management controls are in
place and are performing adequately

The arrangements for the formal reporting
of risk management should be clearly stated
and be available to the stakeholders.

The formal reporting should address:

• the control methods – particularly
management responsibilities for risk
management

• the processes used to identify risks and
how they are addressed by the risk
management systems

• the primary control systems in place to
manage significant risks

• the monitoring and review system in place
Any significant deficiencies uncovered by
the system, or in the system itself, should
be reported together with the steps taken
to deal with them.

A Risk Management Standard10

Risk treatment is the process of selecting
and implementing measures to modify the
risk. Risk treatment includes as its major
element, risk control/mitigation, but
extends further to, for example, risk
avoidance, risk transfer, risk financing, etc.

NOTE: In this standard, risk financing
refers to the mechanisms (eg insurance
programmes) for funding the financial
consequences of risk. Risk financing is not
generally considered to be the provision of
funds to meet the cost of implementing risk
treatment (as defined by ISO/IEC Guide
73; see page 17).

Any system of risk treatment should
provide as a minimum:

• effective and efficient operation of the
organisation

• effective internal controls

• compliance with laws and regulations.

The risk analysis process assists the effective
and efficient operation of the organisation
by identifying those risks which require
attention by management. They will need
to prioritise risk control actions in terms of
their potential to benefit the organisation.

Effectiveness of internal control is the
degree to which the risk will either be
eliminated or reduced by the proposed
control measures.

Cost effectiveness of internal control relates
to the cost of implementing the control
compared to the risk reduction benefits
expected.

The proposed controls need to be
measured in terms of potential economic
effect if no action is taken versus the cost
of the proposed action(s) and invariably
require more detailed information and
assumptions than are immediately
available.

7. Risk Treatment

© IRM: 2002 11

Effective risk management requires a
reporting and review structure to ensure
that risks are effectively identified and
assessed and that appropriate controls and
responses are in place. Regular audits of
policy and standards compliance should be
carried out and standards performance
reviewed to identify opportunities for
improvement. It should be remembered
that organisations are dynamic and operate
in dynamic environments. Changes in the
organisation and the environment in which
it operates must be identified and
appropriate modifications made to systems.

The monitoring process should provide
assurance that there are appropriate controls in
place for the organisation’s activities and that
the procedures are understood and followed.

Changes in the organisation and the
environment in which it operates must be
identified and appropriate changes made to
systems.

Any monitoring and review process should
also determine whether:

• the measures adopted resulted in what was
intended

• the procedures adopted and information
gathered for undertaking the assessment
were appropriate

• improved knowledge would have helped
to reach better decisions and identify
what lessons could be learned for
future assessments and management of
risks

8. Monitoring and Review of the Risk
Management Process

Firstly, the cost of implementation has to
be established. This has to be calculated
with some accuracy since it quickly
becomes the baseline against which cost
effectiveness is measured. The loss to be
expected if no action is taken must also
be estimated and by comparing the
results, management can decide whether
or not to implement the risk control
measures.

Compliance with laws and regulations is
not an option. An organisation must
understand the applicable laws and must
implement a system of controls to achieve

compliance. There is only occasionally
some flexibility where the cost of reducing
a risk may be totally disproportionate to
that risk.

One method of obtaining financial
protection against the impact of risks is
through risk financing which includes
insurance. However, it should be
recognised that some losses or elements of a
loss will be uninsurable eg the uninsured
costs associated with work-related health,
safety or environmental incidents, which
may include damage to employee morale
and the organisation’s reputation.

Good corporate governance requires that
companies adopt a methodical approach to
risk management which:

• protects the interests of their stakeholders

• ensures that the Board of Directors
discharges its duties to direct strategy, build
value and monitor performance of the
organisation

• ensures that management controls are in
place and are performing adequately

The arrangements for the formal reporting
of risk management should be clearly stated
and be available to the stakeholders.

The formal reporting should address:

• the control methods – particularly
management responsibilities for risk
management

• the processes used to identify risks and
how they are addressed by the risk
management systems

• the primary control systems in place to
manage significant risks

• the monitoring and review system in place
Any significant deficiencies uncovered by
the system, or in the system itself, should
be reported together with the steps taken
to deal with them.

A Risk Management Standard10

Risk treatment is the process of selecting
and implementing measures to modify the
risk. Risk treatment includes as its major
element, risk control/mitigation, but
extends further to, for example, risk
avoidance, risk transfer, risk financing, etc.

NOTE: In this standard, risk financing
refers to the mechanisms (eg insurance
programmes) for funding the financial
consequences of risk. Risk financing is not
generally considered to be the provision of
funds to meet the cost of implementing risk
treatment (as defined by ISO/IEC Guide
73; see page 17).

Any system of risk treatment should
provide as a minimum:

• effective and efficient operation of the
organisation

• effective internal controls

• compliance with laws and regulations.

The risk analysis process assists the effective
and efficient operation of the organisation
by identifying those risks which require
attention by management. They will need
to prioritise risk control actions in terms of
their potential to benefit the organisation.

Effectiveness of internal control is the
degree to which the risk will either be
eliminated or reduced by the proposed
control measures.

Cost effectiveness of internal control relates
to the cost of implementing the control
compared to the risk reduction benefits
expected.

The proposed controls need to be
measured in terms of potential economic
effect if no action is taken versus the cost
of the proposed action(s) and invariably
require more detailed information and
assumptions than are immediately
available.

7. Risk Treatment

© IRM: 2002 11

Effective risk management requires a
reporting and review structure to ensure
that risks are effectively identified and
assessed and that appropriate controls and
responses are in place. Regular audits of
policy and standards compliance should be
carried out and standards performance
reviewed to identify opportunities for
improvement. It should be remembered
that organisations are dynamic and operate
in dynamic environments. Changes in the
organisation and the environment in which
it operates must be identified and
appropriate modifications made to systems.

The monitoring process should provide
assurance that there are appropriate controls in
place for the organisation’s activities and that
the procedures are understood and followed.

Changes in the organisation and the
environment in which it operates must be
identified and appropriate changes made to
systems.

Any monitoring and review process should
also determine whether:

• the measures adopted resulted in what was
intended

• the procedures adopted and information
gathered for undertaking the assessment
were appropriate

• improved knowledge would have helped
to reach better decisions and identify
what lessons could be learned for
future assessments and management of
risks

8. Monitoring and Review of the Risk
Management Process

Firstly, the cost of implementation has to
be established. This has to be calculated
with some accuracy since it quickly
becomes the baseline against which cost
effectiveness is measured. The loss to be
expected if no action is taken must also
be estimated and by comparing the
results, management can decide whether
or not to implement the risk control
measures.

Compliance with laws and regulations is
not an option. An organisation must
understand the applicable laws and must
implement a system of controls to achieve

compliance. There is only occasionally
some flexibility where the cost of reducing
a risk may be totally disproportionate to
that risk.

One method of obtaining financial
protection against the impact of risks is
through risk financing which includes
insurance. However, it should be
recognised that some losses or elements of a
loss will be uninsurable eg the uninsured
costs associated with work-related health,
safety or environmental incidents, which
may include damage to employee morale
and the organisation’s reputation.

An organisation’s risk management policy
should set out its approach to and appetite
for risk and its approach to risk
management. The policy should also set
out responsibilities for risk management
throughout the organisation.

Furthermore, it should refer to any legal
requirements for policy statements eg. for
Health and Safety.

Attaching to the risk management process
is an integrated set of tools and techniques
for use in the various stages of the business
process. To work effectively, the risk
management process requires:

• commitment from the chief executive and
executive management of the organisation

• assignment of responsibilities within the
organisation

• allocation of appropriate resources for
training and the development of an
enhanced risk awareness by all
stakeholders.

The Board has responsibility for
determining the strategic direction of the
organisation and for creating the
environment and the structures for risk
management to operate effectively.

This may be through an executive group, a
non-executive committee, an audit
committee or such other function that suits
the organisation’s way of operating and is
capable of acting as a ‘sponsor’ for risk
management.

The Board should, as a minimum,
consider, in evaluating its system of internal
control:

• the nature and extent of downside risks
acceptable for the company to bear within
its particular business

• the likelihood of such risks becoming a
reality

• how unacceptable risks should be managed

• the company’s ability to minimise the
probability and impact on the business

• the costs and benefits of the risk and
control activity undertaken

• the effectiveness of the risk management
process

• the risk implications of board decisions

This includes the following:

• the business units have primary
responsibility for managing risk on a day-
to-day basis

• business unit management is responsible
for promoting risk awareness within their
operations; they should introduce risk
management objectives into their business

• risk management should be a regular
management-meeting item to allow
consideration of exposures and to
reprioritise work in the light of effective
risk analysis

• business unit management should ensure
that risk management is incorporated at
the conceptual stage of projects as well as
throughout a project

A Risk Management Standard12

9. The Structure and Administration of
Risk Management Depending on the size of the organisation

the risk management function may range
from a single risk champion, a part time
risk manager, to a full scale risk
management department. The role of the
Risk Management function should include
the following:

• setting policy and strategy for risk
management

• primary champion of risk management at
strategic and operational level

• building a risk aware culture within the
organisation including appropriate
education

• establishing internal risk policy and
structures for business units

• designing and reviewing processes for risk
management

• co-ordinating the various functional
activities which advise on risk management
issues within the organisation

• developing risk response processes,
including contingency and business
continuity programmes

• preparing reports on risk for the board and
the stakeholders

The role of Internal Audit is likely to differ
from one organisation to another. In
practice, Internal Audit’s role may include
some or all of the following:

• focusing the internal audit work on the
significant risks, as identified by
management, and auditing the risk

management processes across an
organisation

• providing assurance on the management
of risk

• providing active support and involvement
in the risk management process

• facilitating risk identification/assessment
and educating line staff in risk
management and internal control

• co-ordinating risk reporting to the board,
audit committee, etc

In determining the most appropriate role
for a particular organisation, Internal Audit
should ensure that the professional
requirements for independence and
objectivity are not breached.

The resources required to implement the
organisation’s risk management policy
should be clearly established at each level of
management and within each business unit.

In addition to other operational functions
they may have, those involved in risk
management should have their roles in co-
ordinating risk management policy/strategy
clearly defined. The same clear definition is
also required for those involved in the audit
and review of internal controls and
facilitating the risk management process.

Risk management should be embedded
within the organisation through the
strategy and budget processes. It should be
highlighted in induction and all other
training and development as well as within
operational processes e.g. product/service
development projects.

© IRM: 2002 13

An organisation’s risk management policy
should set out its approach to and appetite
for risk and its approach to risk
management. The policy should also set
out responsibilities for risk management
throughout the organisation.

Furthermore, it should refer to any legal
requirements for policy statements eg. for
Health and Safety.

Attaching to the risk management process
is an integrated set of tools and techniques
for use in the various stages of the business
process. To work effectively, the risk
management process requires:

• commitment from the chief executive and
executive management of the organisation

• assignment of responsibilities within the
organisation

• allocation of appropriate resources for
training and the development of an
enhanced risk awareness by all
stakeholders.

The Board has responsibility for
determining the strategic direction of the
organisation and for creating the
environment and the structures for risk
management to operate effectively.

This may be through an executive group, a
non-executive committee, an audit
committee or such other function that suits
the organisation’s way of operating and is
capable of acting as a ‘sponsor’ for risk
management.

The Board should, as a minimum,
consider, in evaluating its system of internal
control:

• the nature and extent of downside risks
acceptable for the company to bear within
its particular business

• the likelihood of such risks becoming a
reality

• how unacceptable risks should be managed

• the company’s ability to minimise the
probability and impact on the business

• the costs and benefits of the risk and
control activity undertaken

• the effectiveness of the risk management
process

• the risk implications of board decisions

This includes the following:

• the business units have primary
responsibility for managing risk on a day-
to-day basis

• business unit management is responsible
for promoting risk awareness within their
operations; they should introduce risk
management objectives into their business

• risk management should be a regular
management-meeting item to allow
consideration of exposures and to
reprioritise work in the light of effective
risk analysis

• business unit management should ensure
that risk management is incorporated at
the conceptual stage of projects as well as
throughout a project

A Risk Management Standard12

9. The Structure and Administration of
Risk Management Depending on the size of the organisation

the risk management function may range
from a single risk champion, a part time
risk manager, to a full scale risk
management department. The role of the
Risk Management function should include
the following:

• setting policy and strategy for risk
management

• primary champion of risk management at
strategic and operational level

• building a risk aware culture within the
organisation including appropriate
education

• establishing internal risk policy and
structures for business units

• designing and reviewing processes for risk
management

• co-ordinating the various functional
activities which advise on risk management
issues within the organisation

• developing risk response processes,
including contingency and business
continuity programmes

• preparing reports on risk for the board and
the stakeholders

The role of Internal Audit is likely to differ
from one organisation to another. In
practice, Internal Audit’s role may include
some or all of the following:

• focusing the internal audit work on the
significant risks, as identified by
management, and auditing the risk

management processes across an
organisation

• providing assurance on the management
of risk

• providing active support and involvement
in the risk management process

• facilitating risk identification/assessment
and educating line staff in risk
management and internal control

• co-ordinating risk reporting to the board,
audit committee, etc

In determining the most appropriate role
for a particular organisation, Internal Audit
should ensure that the professional
requirements for independence and
objectivity are not breached.

The resources required to implement the
organisation’s risk management policy
should be clearly established at each level of
management and within each business unit.

In addition to other operational functions
they may have, those involved in risk
management should have their roles in co-
ordinating risk management policy/strategy
clearly defined. The same clear definition is
also required for those involved in the audit
and review of internal controls and
facilitating the risk management process.

Risk management should be embedded
within the organisation through the
strategy and budget processes. It should be
highlighted in induction and all other
training and development as well as within
operational processes e.g. product/service
development projects.

© IRM: 2002 13

• Brainstorming
• Questionnaires
• Business studies which look at each

business process and describe both the
internal processes and external factors
which can influence those processes

• Industry benchmarking
• Scenario analysis
• Risk assessment workshops
• Incident investigation
• Auditing and inspection
• HAZOP (Hazard & Operability

Studies)

Upside risk
• Market survey
• Prospecting
• Test marketing
• Research and Development

• Business impact analysis

Both
• Dependency modelling
• SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses,

Opportunities, Threats)
• Event tree analysis
• Business continuity planning
• BPEST (Business, Political, Economic,

Social, Technological) analysis
• Real Option Modelling
• Decision taking under conditions of risk

and uncertainty
• Statistical inference
• Measures of central tendency and

dispersion
• PESTLE (Political Economic Social

Technical Legal Environmental)

Downside risk
• Threat analysis
• Fault tree analysis
• FMEA (Failure Mode & Effect Analysis)

A Risk Management Standard14

10. Appendix

This document is available for download free of charge from the website of the Institute of Risk Management

The Institute of Risk Management
Telephone 020 7709 9808

6 Lloyd’s Avenue,
London EC3N 3AX
Facsimile 020 7709 0716
Email [email protected]
www.theirm.org

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