Managing risks in the NSW public sector: risk culture and capability

State governments Governance Risk Statutory authorities New South Wales
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Effective risk management is essential to good governance, and supports staff at all levels to make informed judgements and decisions. At a time when government is encouraging innovation and exploring new service delivery models, effective risk management is about seizing opportunities as well as managing threats.

Over the past decade, governments and regulators around the world have increasingly turned their attention to risk culture. It is now widely accepted that organisational culture is a key element of risk management because it influences how people recognise and engage with risk. Neglecting this ‘soft’ side of risk management can prevent institutions from managing risks that threaten their success and lead to missed opportunities for change, improvement or innovation.

This audit assessed how effectively NSW Government agencies are building risk management capabilities and embedding a sound risk culture throughout their organisations. To do this we examined whether:

• agencies can demonstrate that senior management is committed to risk management

• information about risk is communicated effectively throughout agencies

• agencies are building risk management capabilities

The audit examined four agencies: the Ministry of Health, the NSW Fair Trading function within the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, NSW Police Force and NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp). NSW Treasury was also included as the agency responsible for the NSW Government's risk management framework.

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