Diocese of Chichester Safeguarding

The seven steps of risk management

The guidance below takes you through the 'seven steps of risk management'. Once you have familiarised yourself with this guidance, you can download the form below to record your risk assessments and the steps you are taking to reduce risks in the activities you are running:

Download: Activity Risk Assessment Form. 

1) What are the risks?

Here we are simply identifying ‘what could go wrong?’ For instance, if your church has a summer barbecue, one risk you should identify is someone getting a burn whilst cooking on the flames. Remember that this activity is about risk identification, not risk speculation. We’re not imagining highly improbable risks here! Risk management is about sensible precautions, not seeing mortal danger everywhere.

2) Who might be harmed?

Try to be specific; ‘everyone’ is usually not a helpful answer to this question. It might be the risk you have identified applies equally to all the children or adults in an activity, but it may be that there are specific risks that apply to only a few. For instance, in a game of rounders, a child with severe exercise-induced asthma will have a risk that is specific to them. You need to identify this risk and have a plan to manage it (which in this case will largely revolve around making sure they have their inhaler with them before you start the game).

3) What are you already doing to reduce the risk?

It is very unlikely that your answer to this will be ‘nothing’. You will probably have put some thought into managing risks already, and you may find that you are doing a number of things ‘automatically’ without really thinking about it. It’s useful to take time to consider what you’re already doing; this can be quite an encouraging exercise, and also helps you to identify where your strengths are. Listing what you are already doing is also a good step towards being able to train other people in managing your activities, should the need arise.

4) What additional steps are you going to take to reduce the risk?

You may have found that you are already doing everything you need, but the point of writing everything down in a planned way is to identify anything additional. Keep things as simple and achievable as you can, but try to ensure that you have at least one action to manage and reduce any risk you have identified.

5) Action by whom?

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, but not everyone needs to be responsible for each action. Make sure that everyone knows what their responsibility is; don’t need up in the position where everyone thought someone else was going to bring the first aid kit! The activity leader should have a copy of the risk management plan with them, so they know who is responsible for what. This helps them to ensure things are done, but also makes it easier to identify what is not going to get done if someone isn’t there – meaning that this task can get swiftly delegated to someone else.

6) Action by when?

Some actions are ‘rolling’; they just need to be done on each occasion an activity takes place (such as checking Marcus has his inhaler with him in the example below). Other examples, such as ‘re-stocking the first aid kit’, need to be done in a timely fashion. Setting a do-by date is the most simple way of ensuring this.

7) Recording

Keeping a simple record of what has been done to manage risk; it helps learning, it enables leaders to check that nothing is outstanding, and in the event of an accident it enables the group to demonstrate what they had done to minimise risk.