Volunteers, psychological safety and liability risks in focus for Scheme Risk program

Risk Matters - Winter 2022

Proactive risk management for individual LGIS members and the broader local government sector is at the heart of LGIS’ success. Targeted risk services are available to all local governments as a benefit of Scheme membership. When local governments work together to manage risks and reduce claims everyone benefits – workers, community and their protection Scheme.

LGIS members across the state, particularly in the south and Wheatbelt, faced fires which destroyed property and razed the land. Changing environmental conditions will continue to pose significant challenges.

In the front line, battling all of these fires were our bushfire volunteers. Without the tireless dedication of these volunteers the destruction of bushfires would be so much worse.

Every three years LGIS reviews the Scheme Risk plan, and in May this year the Board of Directors endorsed the 2022-2025 plan.

In 2021, WALGA commissioned Mainsheet Capital to do an independent review of the Scheme risk program. The review aimed to answer two questions: one, do risk services provide value for money and two are they effective? Their report answered ‘Yes’ on both counts – affirming the benefits to members of the program. In their report Mainsheet also provided recommendations and we’ve incorporated them into the 2022-2025 program.

The risk program is a key benefit of LGIS membership and is structured around three pillars:

Other sections in this season's Risk Matters

  1. Preventative risk programs designed to build the sector’s risk profile, capacity and capability in mitigating scheme risks.
  2. Emerging risk programs that enable LGIS to respond to risks as they arise, identifying scheme exposures and mitigation, both at a local and sector level.
  3. Claims trend programs targeted at risk areas that need to be managed to reduce current claims.

In addition to the regular three yearly review, we look at sector wide risks every year; tweaking service delivery to respond to what’s happening in the sector.

Service highlights for 2022-2025

There are a range of new services and projects ear-marked for the next three years. Members have the opportunity to get involved with various pilot programs and research projects.

Cyber-resilience pilot

Local government leaders ranked cyber-security as their number two risk concern in the 2021 JLT Public Sector Risk Report. Globally cyber is recognised as a significant and growing risk exposure. This is reflected in the dramatic price increases for cyber-cover in the commercial insurance market – 110% in the US and 102% in the UK for the first quarter of 2022.

In talking to WA local government leaders, we know it’s a concern and cyber-claims to LGIS have increased in the last few years. Although we haven’t seen a large claim yet, it’s only a matter of time.

We’re developing a cyber-resilience program to support members in building their cyber-security capacity. Members will be invited to participate when the pilot program is launched.

Scheme risk services are focused around six risk profiles:

More liability risk assessments

We’ve identified five new areas to deliver risk assessments to members; two new types of assessment will be added each year starting in 2022. Individual members will be able to access the new service and the whole sector will benefit by data gathered on risk maturity and claim frequency. Assessments will be delivered in the areas of:

Property assessments

All LGIS members have significant property portfolios including staffed buildings, leased premises, public facilities, fleet, plant and equipment. The property assessment program provides members with assessments to identify risks and recommends risk management strategies in response.

Every year 20 high risk properties, such as waste facilities, ports or bushfire/emergency facilities, and 15 low to medium risk properties will be audited by the Scheme.

Refreshed people risk services

Western Australia’s new work, health and safety (WHS) legislation has seen renewed interest from the local government sector across many aspects of people risk.

LGIS will continue to deliver our popular ‘3 Steps to Safety’ program alongside a range of awareness sessions across roles and responsibilities, due diligence, psychological safety, volunteers, and contractor management.

People management services have been refined and include mediation, short term counselling, conflict resolution and critical incident debriefing – including for elected members and volunteers.

Psychological safety

Although psychological safety has always been included in WA legislation it is now explicitly mentioned in the Act, garnering more attention from employers. LGIS will develop a psychological safe program for members. It will have a strong focus on education around identifying psychosocial hazards, and the prevention of psychological injuries. More information will be available when the program becomes available.

Volunteer management resources

Volunteer management is another area in the spotlight with changes to the definition of a ‘worker’ in new WHS legislation. LGIS has already developed a wide range of resources to support members in managing volunteers and bushfire volunteers. Over the next few years, we’ll continue to develop material and provide targeted support in response to the regulatory environment and the sector’s needs.

These services and more are available to all LGIS members. Services can be delivered in-person, virtually or a combination of ways that meets the member’s needs.

We are committed to working with all members to build risk management capacity within the sector ensuring safer communities and workplaces.

For more information on LGIS risk services contact your risk consultant or regional risk coordinator.

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Other sections of this season's Risk Matters