Risk Assessment 2010-2011

UPTON PARISH COUNCIL – RISK ASSESSMENT 2010-2011

Assessment of Risks that could affect the Finances or the Smooth Running of Upton Parish Council

This brief assessment considers the implications of accidents and wanton damage to Council property and, where such events may affect the finances or the smooth running of the Council, what action should be taken to counter the risk.

The assessment looks at three areas:

  1. Damage resulting in loss of income to the Council
  2. Accidents resulting in a claim against the Council
  3. Loss of or damage to Council assets

1) Loss of Income

The Council does not receive any income from the hiring out of any of its assets. The major source of income comes from the precept set annually by the Council with a small income resulting from Bank interest and refund of VAT.                                                                                                               

2) Possible Claims against the Council

PUBLIC LIABILITY

The Council is at risk of being asked to pay compensation to members of the public for injury, illness, or loss of or damage to material property arising in connection with the Council’s activities. In particular, it is at risk of a claim arising from an accident whilst using the Council’s play equipment or whilst playing in the Council’s recreation ground.

Action

The Council has taken out Public Liability Insurance with Aviva for cover up to £10M for any one occurrence.

In order to reduce the possibility of receiving such a claim the Council’s play equipment is subject to a monthly inspection by the Play Area Committee and an annual inspection by RoSPA.  The recreation ground and the attached children’s play area are regularly cut and kept tidy during the summer months.

Reputable contractors are employed to undertake non-routine recreation ground maintenance to reduce the chances of possible damage to material property or injury to a member of the public.

The Council has purchased two lawn mowers to enable the community to undertake the routine grass cutting of the recreation ground. Selected members of the community have volunteered to be users of the equipment and are officially engaged to undertake the grass cutting. All volunteers have been given training and detailed written instructions to ensure the safety of themselves and that of members of the public whilst the equipment is in use. Users will ensure that the ride-on mower is not used within 30 meters of any member of the public on the recreation ground and the self propelled-mower will not be used within 10 meters of any member of the public in the children’s play area or recreation ground. No one will operate the grass cutting machinery unless trained and officially engaged to do so.

EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY

The Council is at risk of being asked to pay compensation to an employee (in our case a volunteer worker) for injury or illness arising out of, and in the course of, their employment by the Council.

Action

The Council has taken out Employer’s Liability Insurance with Aviva for cover up to £10M for any one occurrence.

3) Loss of, or Damage to, Council Assets

The Council’s assets, together with their replacement value, are listed separately in the attached inventory.

BUS SHELTER

The risk of damage to the Bus Shelter comes from serious vandalism or from vehicular impact.

In its position in a very quiet village, the chances of vehicle accident is very low.  If it were hit by a lawful driver, a claim could be made on the driver’s insurance. The shelter is a very robust brick and tile structure that makes it an unlikely target for serious vandalism.

Action

The Council has looked at insuring the Bus Shelter for its full replacement cost, less the first £250 of any claim. The Council considers that the chances of a hit by an illegal driver is so remote as to not need consideration and that any vandal damage is likely to be minor or graffiti which will cost less than the insurance excess to put right.

The Council has insured it’s Street Furniture up to a value of £420 and this may cover intermediate damage to the shelter but other than that the council has decided not to take any action.

GARAGE

The risk of damage to the Garage comes from accidental fire and possible serious vandalism.

The garage is a mainly concrete structure tucked away in the recreation ground but close to dwellings making it a very unlikely target for serious vandalism.

The garage is used to house the two mowers and no more than 40 litres of petrol for use in the mowers. The petrol is stored in proprietary petrol storage cans.

There are no ignition sources in the garage except for the ignition of the mowers. There is no regular access to the garage except for access to the mowers and very occasional access to excess chairs belonging to the village hall.

The garage is secured by two locking mechanisms, one being a level 6 security lock.

Action

The council has insured the Garage for the replacement cost of £2226 with Aviva against damage by either of the above possibilities.

GRASS CUTTING EQUIPMENT

The councils owns 2 mowers, a 48 inch John Deere ride-on and a 22 inch Murray self propelled. Both mowers are stored in the Garage and are used to cut the grass in the recreation ground and occasionally to cut parish footpaths. Cutting the footpaths does mean taking the mower on public roads for a total of approximately 3 miles per year. The mowers are at risk from fire, theft and accidental damage.

Action

The council has insured the Mowers for their replacement cost of £2383.42 with Aviva against loss or damage by any of the above possibilities. The local police have postcode marked both mowers.

GATES and FENCES

The risk of damage to the recreation ground gates and to the fence around the children’s play equipment comes from serious vandalism or from vehicular impact.

In their position in a very quiet village the chances of vehicle accident with either the gates or the fence is very low.  If either were hit by a lawful driver, a claim could be made on the driver’s insurance.

Minor vandalism of the fence will continue on a regular basis (approximately twice per year) breaking a small number of pales from the wooden fence. The average cost per event providing volunteer labour is available to carry out the repair is approx £10.

Action

The Council has looked at insuring the gates and the fence for their full replacement cost with Aviva, less the first £250 of any claim, against damage by either of the above possibilities. The Council considers that the chances of a serious hit by an illegal driver is so remote as to not need consideration and that any vandal damage is likely to be minor, costing less than the insurance excess to put right.

The Council has decided not to take any action.

PLAY EQUIPMENT

The risk of damage to the items of play equipment comes from serious vandalism. The expensive items are generally substantial, mainly metal, structures that are likely to require powered equipment to cause significant damage.  The other chance of significant damage is for parts of the wooden fence to be used to start a fire under one of the play items but in a village that has only a minor vandalism problem the chances of such action is considered to be < 1 in 40 years (most of the play items have an expected lifetime of 15-20 years).  It should be noted that the play equipment is surrounded by a wooden fence and in very close proximity to the village hall which would appear to be softer options for any acts of relatively minor vandalism.

Action

The Council has decided not to insure the Play Equipment but instead to continue to put aside £500 per year into a reserve fund to be used for the repair and eventual replacement of the items.

RECREATION GROUND

There is a risk of relatively minor vandal damage to the recreation ground but the cost of repair is not considered to be significant since volunteer labour will be available to carry out any remedial work that may be necessary.

There is a small risk of personal injury caused by illegal motor vehicles crossing the recreation ground.

Action

The council will continue to attempt to prevent motor vehicles crossing the recreation ground.

MONEY

At any one time the Council may have relatively small sums of money or cheques in the possession of the Clerk or various Councillors. There is a small risk of such sums of money being lost or stolen.

The risk of fraud or inadvertent accounting errors are minimised by monthly bank reconciliation carried out by the Clerk and by the requirement for all cheques to be signed by two Councillors.  Both internal and external audits are carried out annually.

Although unlikely given the strict controls regarding release of funds and payment of cheques the BDO audit has recommended that the PC take out an “infidelity bond” to protect the council against employee dishonesty.

Action

The Council has insured with Aviva against the risk of loss or theft of relatively small sums of money. The maximum that could be claimed is up to £500 in the Clerk’s or a Councillor’s house and up to £1000 in transit.

The PC has taken out an infidelity bond and cover is now provided through the insurance policy with Aviva up to the amount of £100K.

Summary

The Council has looked at possible accidents and possible incidents of wanton damage and has taken what it believes to be appropriate action to protect its financial position and to ensure that it will be able to continue to conduct its business. It should be noted that the loss or damage to any of the assets listed in Section 3 would not disrupt the smooth running of Council business.

Mike Brown
For:   Upton Parish Council   – 4th January 2011