This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Use of Risk Assessment within Government Departments

Next

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three


Preface

The second year report up to the publication of "The Common Inheritance" in 1990 included a wide range of commitments to further action, as part of the Government strategy for the environment. One of these (which went beyond environmental considerations was to undertake a review of the principles and practices used in Government for risk assessment with a view to identifying best practice; encouraging common approaches; and to producing a report describing and comparing current practices. The Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment (ILGRA) was given the task of producing the report.
  
ILGRA is an informal committee of officials responsible for policy development and practical applications of risk assessment in all major Departments. It meets regularly to share views on and experience of risk assessment matters. Details about its membership and terms of reference are at Annex 1. Though ILGRA's remit is not confined exclusively to health, safety and environmental risks, this report focuses on these.  
    
Risk assessment is a powerful tool for informing, but not dictating, decisions on the management of risks. However, ILGRA has found that there are variation in the ways in which many Departments use risk assessment and integrate it into the decision-making process. The report makes a number of useful recommendations for achieving greater coherence and consistency in those areas, facilitating inter-departmental co-operation on risk issues and improving the way the Government communicates with the public on health and safety matters.
  
These are important issues. Risks do no usually apply to just one single receptor (e.g. the environment, works, the public) and more than one department may have responsibility for putting in place the necessary arrangements to ensure that they are controlled. ILGRA has now been given the task of developing the further work proposed in the report.
     
The publication of the report is particularly opportune. The Government has recently announced that a risk assessment should be provided to Ministers to assist them in reaching their decision on any regulatory proposal affecting business. Ministers will be required personally to sign off each risk assessment and satisfy themselves that the regulation strikes an appropriate balance between cost and benefit.
   
The report has three chapters. Chapter one given an overview of risk assessment. Chapter two describes, in broad terms, the functions of the Departments covered in this report and summarises their use of risk assessment. Chapter three examines how Departments use risk assessment, identifies common approaches, explores whether greater cohesion and consistency are needed and if so how these could be achieved.
    
The compilation of the report has involved a great deal of work by ILGRA members. It is hoped that the outcome will be of value in improving the use of risk assessment in Departments. Its publication will broaden the debate on this important subject. Observations will be welcomed and should be sent to the ILGRA Secretariat.
   
The drafting of the report has been undertaken by Dr Jean Le Guen, Head of HSE's Risk Assessment Policy Unit. I would like on behalf of ILGRA to record our appreciation to him for all his efforts.

Dr Jim McQuaid
Chairman
Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment

Back to top

Glossary of acronyms

ALARP

As Low As Is Reasonably Practicable

BATNEEC

Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost

BPM

Best Practical Means

BSE

Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy

CAA

Civil Aviation Authority

CBA

Cost Benefit Analysis

CCA

Compliance Cost Assessment

CEN

Comité Européen de Normalisation

COSHH

Control Of Substances Hazardous To Health

DH

Department Of Health

DOE

Department Of Environment

DOT

Department Of Transport

EDG

Employment Department Group

EU

European Union

HMIP

her majesty's inspectorate of pollution

HSC

Health And Safety Commission

HSE

Health And Safety Executive

ICAO

International Civil Aviation Organisation

IGEAE

Interdepartmental Group On Economic Appraisal And Evaluation

ILGRA

Interdepartmental Liaison Group On Risk Assessment

IT

Information Technology

JAA

Joint Aviation Authorities

MAFF

Ministry Of Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

MOD

Ministry Of Defence

NOAEL

No Observable Adverse Effect Level

OECD

Organisation For Economic Cooperation And Development

SO

Scottish Office

SSAS

Sub-group On The Setting Of Safety Standards

TB

Tuberculosis

ToR

Tolerability Of Risk

UN

United Nations

Updated 2009-10-11