For a Risk Assessment to remain useful, it needs to reflect the needs of the organisation and the current way things are done. Therefore, all Risk Assessments should be subject to a review to make sure that they remain valid.
Risk Assessments to not have to be redone afresh every year, as some people think. Rather the assessment should be looked at and reconsidered to see if any further action is now needed. The overall aim of Risk Assessment is not to divert valuable resource away from other things, such as pastoral care, so a review should not be a complicated matter.
Risk Assessments should be reviewed when something has changed that could affect the validity of the assessment. Some of the things that could trigger a review are:
- A change of premises or a change in the way premises are used;
- Changes of personnel;
- A change of the law, a recent prosecution or new guidance;
- Information from an insurer;
- A memo from a head office or diocesan office;
- An incident or injury on the premises or associated with the work of the organisation; and
- New activities or events.
Even if there are no changes, it is still worthwhile reviewing the Risk Assessment periodically. Sometimes, this can be done every few years (there is no set duration) but some assessments benefit from a more frequent review. This may be the case for assessments where there are a number of outstanding actions or where things are frequently changing, or when an assessment has been done by someone who is getting used to doing Risk Assessments.
The format of the review should be similar to that of the initial assessment, with any changes being made to any record of the assessment. To make this easier, we suggest that the recorded findings of an assessment are kept electronically for easy modification, but there is no reason why changes cannot be made in pen on a printed (or written) document.
An update does not need to wait for a review and should be done at any time. The best Risk Assessments are often those that have been written over with updates and show signs of use!
If no significant changes need to be made, it is worth endorsing any written assessment record with the date of the review and the name of the reviewer. Alternatively, a separate log could be kept to keep a track on the review of the various assessments.
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