How Much Risk Is Too Much?
24 October 2012
‘How Much Risk is Too Much?’ was the title of the first dinner of the Events Programme following the summer recess and was hosted by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP. The answer we discovered was risk depends on the context – an extreme event in one sector might pose nothing much more than a short disruption to business in another sector. We were joined by industry experts, leading academics and politicians to discuss the nature of risk for business. Some of us around the table argued that more regulation was the answer; others felt that the regulation argument essentially missed the point. The founding argument here was that the capabilities of an organisation, regardless of the situation it faced, was the key to ensuring that an organisation remained ready to react to any situation be it a pandemic flu outbreak, flooding, a terrorist attack or simply disruption to a business because of failure in a supply chain.
From left to right: Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Talyor (Warwick
Richard Waterer (Marsh Risk Consulting)
and Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP
Some guests thought that business continuity had simply become a “higher form of muddling through”. However, on the other hand, in difficult financial times, it is increasingly difficult to justify investment in a business into events which are undoubtedly high impact but essentially low probability. With this in mind, the group identified key challenges in ensuring business continues as normal: lack of knowledge of what business continuity is, lack of knowledge of the risk facing a specific organisation and – fundamental to the debate – ensuring sufficient weight is given to business continuity managers in an organisation to ensure that they are represented at senior management level in an organisation. There is little point preparing for a disaster in huge detail if your business continuity manager does not then have authority to muster the troops when something does go wrong.
An IPT Policy Report and IPT/Warwick Podcast will also be available.