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Risk Management in the British Library

Some notes on the importance of risk management to the Library and its procedures.

Risk is not a new phenomenon nor the latest management jargon. It occurs in all aspects of business. The Library defines risk as:

“Any internal or external event that might adversely affect the ability of the Library to achieve its strategy, policy or operational goals.”

Risk management forms an integral part of the Library’s planning and monitoring process and its internal control framework. It contributes to considerations of resource allocation and prioritisation and reporting on the process forms a crucial aspect of the Library’s statement of internal control.

Risk management is not a science; it depends on managers and staff being clear about what their objectives are and then challenging themselves to ask what might prevent them from achieving those objectives. They need to consider how likely it is that the risk event will occur and what impact it will have.

The Library has adopted a structured approach to identifying and ranking risks to make sure that analysis and comparison of major corporate risks is made on a consistent basis. We haven’t tried to identify every possible risk but to concentrate on the major ones. We also haven’t tried to reinvent procedures for the sake of it. The corporate register provides a record of the risk management position but it is not an end in itself.

Local risks are monitored by Directorate management teams in the course of reviewing progress against the Library’s business plans and then moved to the corporate register if they breach agreed thresholds.

Programme and project risks are monitored through the Library’s project management process and also escalated if they breach agreed thresholds.

If you have any questions or issues about risk management or you think that a particular risk needs to be considered then please use the appropriate contact or email to where your query will be addressed.

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