Further education risk management

Ensuring risks are managed effectively, efficiently and proportionally – a commentary for governors

With the ongoing process of area reviews, continued real term funding cuts and significant changes to apprenticeship funding, to mention only a few, the risks facing the sector are arguably as great as they have ever been.

The initial focus of our analysis within our further education risk management report was to understand the key risks further education colleges had identified and what was most concerning, covering both general further education colleges and designated sixth form colleges.

Our report, which is based on a review of the ‘top three risks’ (based on the colleges’ risk assessment scores) identified over 70 colleges, is intended to provide an insight into the identified key risks that colleges face and to enable colleges to compare them to their own risk profile when considering risk management. It is not intended as commentary on, or evaluation of, the approaches used by the colleges to identify or mitigate risks.

Colleges use a variety of formats and presentation in their risk registers so direct comparison is difficult, but the risks fell into these eight broad categories.

  • Area reviews.
  • Commercial/operations.
  • Government policy.
  • Quality.
  • Recruitment.
  • IT.
  • Competition.
  • Reputation.

We then considered and reviewed these risk assessments in more details, putting in context for sector at large and the ever changing landscape.

At the end of each section we set out three specific questions for governors to ask themselves.

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