Complying with Risk Obligations in the Academy Trust Handbook 

The management of risk is a requirement of the Academy Trust Handbook. Academy trusts must manage risks to ensure their effective operation, operating a risk register. And, the management of risks must include contingency and business continuity planning.


Many trusts struggle to operationalise their risk management. Whilst a risk management policy is fairly easy to develop, the implementation of the framework into the organisation so risks can be identified, measured, managed, monitored and reported on is often poor. This is amplified by the complex nature of risk and the limited level of investment into professional development around risk in schools.


A further challenge trusts have is the use of spreadsheets to meet the recommended use of the ICAEW’s four lines of defence model as referenced by the ESFA. This is where:


1st line of defence: Policies, control frameworks and management review processes

2nd line of defence: Control self-assessment processes, risk reviews, compliance reviews

3rd line of defence: Internal audit

4th line of defence: External audit


Spreadsheets do not allow for effective assessment, evaluation, control and monitoring of risks when viewed within the lens of the ICAEWs model. Evidencing the operationalisation of the model requires a link between risk creation, risk treatment, mitigation tasks and communication of those aspects to the people who will be carrying them out.


Another challenge is where to start with risk management. Professional development across a trust to just achieve the first two lines can be daunting as there is a need to build capability and capacity in the discipline of risk management.


Solving these problems isn’t easy, but 9ine can help. We have developed Governance, Risk and Compliance technology that is simple to use, easy to understand and accessible. It brings together three important areas of privacy, technology and safeguarding. The risk capability does expand beyond these areas meaning you can use it to capture and manage strategic, operational, legal, property, financial, commercial, people, project and reputational risks.


If a challenge is risk management at your academy trust, and you want to learn how 9ine’s cost effective technology can help, get in touch.

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