Rotterdam: taking the chances

As from 2006 the municipality Rotterdam in the Netherlands must picture risks for their conduct of business for all services, more and more managers are persuaded of usefulness. Rotterdam also uses risk management to get visibility on risks by adding organization components and at the introduction of “the WMO”, a complex law of social support in the Netherlands. Risk management is especially a practical instrument. It provides fast insight and it keeps people sharp.

The introduction of risk management is not new. In this case the reason to use risk management was a “municipality-broad scan” regarding the quality of the financial and control function of Rotterdam.
This scan suggests many improvements. Carl Berg, managing director Means and Control in Rotterdam: The conduct of business must continuously and proactively be studied. This is important to achieve visibility on risks in relation to organisation objectives. Not only risks in relation to financial resources are being studied, especially risks in relation to administrative and organisational results are being observed. To practice, several divisions joined a “pilot”. The first year, twelve divisions gave one’s opinion about the conduct of business.

Rotterdam introduced a working method (named “Get a grip on risks”) for all participants. The routine consisted of interviews and workshops. A voting procedure has been contemplated by using voting boxes. In this way the municipality could set priorities. Also a risk language has been developed.

Furthermore all divisions have been asked to prioritize and analyze risks by using a “risk chart”. Finally all risks are visualized by using symbols. Liesbeth Dogger, supervisor: “The project is deliberately practical and usable. Our aim is to get visibility on risks and what we can do to limit them. No paper work must come in force.”

Arjan van Gils, CEO of the city of Rotterdam: “As a CEO of a municipality you are the first responsible for the quality of risk management and therefore you should focus on this. Rotterdam has chosen for a fanatical treatment of risk management. Take the chances!”.

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