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Operational Risk

Operational Risk can be defined as those uncertainties that arise during the normal course of operations that have the potential to impact on a School or Units ability to function properly and to achieve its strategic objectives.

When managing operational risks there are a number of areas that should be considered, for example:

  • People Risks: e.g. is there a compartmentalisation of knowledge within the Unit or School around particular systems, tasks, etc?
  • Inputs: e.g. does the School or Unit depend on information provided by a third party for some of its core functions?
  • Outputs: e.g. have the critical outputs of the Unit / School been identified?
  • Reputational Risk: e.g. is the School / Unit engaged in any activity that could generate negative publicity for the university?
  • Financial Risks: e.g. is the School / Unit dependant on a narrow source of funding and if so how is the sustainability of same ensured?
  • Safety Risks: e.g. has the School / Unit a Safety Statement in place?
  • Insurance Risks: e.g. is all School / Unit equipment adequately insured?
  • IT Risks: e.g. is sensitive data removed from the School / Unit on unencrypted laptops or memory keys?
  • Outsourcing Risks: e.g. are external service providers adequately vetted?
  • Fraud Risks: e.g. is fraud a possibility?
  • Critical Dependencies: e.g. the loss or interruption of what services would stop the unit functioning for a long period of time?
  • Business Continuity Risks: e.g. has the School / Unit a plan in place to deal with high sickness levels during a pandemic?
  • Legal Risk: e.g. are all contracts signed by the School / Unit vetted first by the Legal Office?

The SIRC Office can advise Schools and Unit on how to manage and minimise operational risk.