Public and stakeholder involvement in risk management


Cabinet Office/HM Treasury: Principles of Managing Risks to the Public


Government will seek wide involvement of those concerned in the decision process.

Government will actively involve significant stakeholders, including members of the public, throughout the risk identification, assessment and management process. This will support timely and targeted action. Two-way communication will be used in all stages of policy development, risk assessment and risk management. Where there are differences in interpretation it will aim to clarify these through open discussion, and it will seek to balance conflicting views in a way that best serves the wider public interest. It will explain how views obtained through consultation have been reflected in its decisions.


Strategy Unit's Risk: improving government's capability to handle uncertainty

5.25 The Strategy Unit study has identified three main areas where there may be scope for improvement: ...

• more systematic involvement of the public in decisions about risks that affect them or concern them. This is closely linked to the issue of empowerment discussed earlier in this chapter. Three specific concerns were raised in our study in relation to communication with the public about risks they face: ...

– involvement of the public in decisions about risks, both formal and informal, needs to be as widespread and balanced as possible. Stakeholders we spoke to suggested that, by restricting formal consultation to their usual list of contacts, Departments were more vulnerable to "group think" and as a result, key risks were sometimes missed. Similar concerns were voiced about informal soundings such as public attitude surveys, with one politician we spoke to suggesting that Departments sometimes confuse market research with genuine involvement in the decision process.