Thinking about risk

I had a new challenge this month when I was asked to train at a conference. Training a room of 120 people is very different from the smaller groups I usually train. The topic was safer caring, and we had a great morning. I worked with the foster carers to think about risk.  Of course… The more we thought the more risk there is… even within the coffee break, we identified that somebody nearly tripped over the wires, someone else knocked a noticeboard over and I was very challenged getting coffee out of the flasks, without hurting myself as the flask top was so tight! 

We had quite a laugh thinking about all the risks that the carers had mitigated on the way to the conference.

And behind all this was a serious message. Life is full of risk – and all the time we assess it in our heads. What we might call a ‘dynamic ‘risk assessment – it’s pouring with rain, so I need to take an umbrella…the train service is disrupted, so I better get an earlier train than the one I was planning…

In terms of the valuable work which foster carers do we talked about making sure that they were "risk sensible, not risk averse". This is a challenge is that family situations change,  family members change and  foster children change. We talked about how important is to review this regularly. I found the resource by Jackie Slade: ‘Safer Caring a New Approach’ really useful to help us consider this. The good morning was had by all and a chance to think about what we do next – it was great to see so many people identify the next steps.

I followed this with a day looking at how to manage safeguarding with the management team from a group of residential homes.  Again, we talked about risk.  We cannot remover the risk of an allegation being made, or  a staff member not following systems, but we identified lots of ways we can reduce risk including having good policies and procedures, and ongoing support for staff teams – not just ‘ticking the box’ that they have done the relevant training. 

Two very different settings but many similar themes!

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