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5 thoughts on Risk from the Independent Schools’​ Bursars Association Annual Conference 2019

Keynote on the Global Economic Outlook

Joe Nellis kicked off the Conference with a look at the global economic outlook and how it is going to affect the sector. Perhaps we now need to review the external risks in our risk registers and assess how it reflects the threats and opportunities discussed in relation to our schools.

Legal Update

Sam Macdonald and Jonathan Eley from the Farrer &Co team presented a simple and comprehensive update of the legal changes we needed to be aware of and why. It did make me think about how we identify, assess and manage legal risks as they impact most things we do and the risk consequences are always expensive not only in cash term. Do we have compliance and regulation as a separate risk category and if not are we proactively considering legal risks ?

The future of IT in Schools

For a while now I have been suggesting we should have a IT risk register. The panel discussion highlighted many issues including how technology is rapidly changing, pupils behaviours and expectations are changing, how teachers will need to develop their use of IT and how we need to continually invest in technology interms of infrastructure, training and all things artificial intelligence. With the complexity of IT risk we must have IT risk registers to manage the risks and embrace opportunity risks?


The main auditorium may have had around 350 delegates and when Gary Evanson, Head of Security and Emergency Planning, Westminster Abbey asked if security is represented in our risk registers maybe 25-30 hands went up. Perhaps we need to review what we include and question whether it is adequate.

Finally Finance

In a panel discussion looking at finance it became evident that we need to understand and challenge our financial models. We need to think creatively about diversifying income portfolios and challenge the efficiency and effectiveness of our schools. Many schools have business plans, strategic plans, master plans, development plans but none of these are a financial strategy. Every school needs a robust financial strategy. 

A really informative and thought provoking 2 days. Thank you ISBA

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