Your group are required to research and critically evaluate the process of conducting a qualitative risk assessment and report on your findings. Throughout the exercise, you should always remember that our definition of risk is the combination of the probability of an event and its consequences’.

You should start with some background reading about how risks assessments are meant to be conducted. You should also read up on some research into risk assessment case studies. (You will see some of the case studies folder on AULA in the week starting 27th September).

Your group should then choose one example of a risk assessment case study. This should ideally be one that has previously been conducted either by yourselves, your company or by others. In
particular, there should be a reasonably comprehensive risk register (min 10 risks) as an output from the assessment. Ideally, there should be sufficient information about the assessment process so you can see how it was originally conducted by whom, when, where and how.

However, before you look at the details of the risk register, you should work individually and develop your own version. You should decide on your own, what the objectives are for the company or organisation, what is the current state of knowledge and uncertainty. You should then compile your own simple risk register (probably 10 to 15 risks).

You should then get together as a group to compare your results (objectives, uncertainty, risks, likelihoods etc.). How different are your results from the company and each other; you should discuss what you would need to do to reach a consensus.

Your comparisons and discussion should lead to answers to the following questions:
How difficult is it to compile a good risk register?

What skills and knowledge do the members of the team need?

How long does it take?

Have we identified all the significant risks?

Do risk averse people identify more risks than risk seekers?

Does everyone agree on the likelihood and impact factors?

How do we measure a successful outcome?

The report should be 1500 words (+/ 10%) in length.

Attachments, such as the risk registers should be added as appendices at the end of your report.

Executive Summary. This should be a summary of your key report findings, including conclusions and recommendations. (No references required) This should be on a separate page from the rest of your report.

The reporting and evaluation of the risk assessment process should make reference to risk management methodologies, theories and research. Throughout each section of the report,

you should try to integrate practice with theory. What do the text books say and what did you observe?
Compare and contrast your case study with other examples of risk assessments. Were there special issues that distinguished this case study from other types of risk assessments?

Using your own research, the report should evaluate the overall outcome of the risk assessment.

The suggested structure of the report and suggested content of each section, together with allocation of marks, are shown below.

1. Introduction (10%):

A brief introduction to the process of risk assessments what according to the theory are the main steps in the process? Then provide a general overview of your chosen case study what is the organisation or project concerned.

2. Objectives and Uncertainty (15%)

What exactly do you think the objectives of the organisation are? Are these obvious (maybe maximise profits or minimise costs?) or are they more complex? Do different stakeholders have different opinions? What about the current state of knowledge and uncertainty again, is this straightforward?

3. List of Risks (20%):

Compare and contrast the risks that were identified by the different group members. What were the different categories of these risks (PESTLE?); how technical or subject matter specific were the risks;
how many different risks were there? Most of you probably have neither any technical expertise nor
subject specific knowledge; so how many of the actual risks would you have expected to identify.
However, maybe as nonspecialists you saw different risks from the experts? Do you think risk personality plays a part in risk identification?

4. Likelihood and Impacts (15%):

Compare and contrast the likelihoods and impact factors. Most of these values are based on subjective estimates. How reliable is this as a measure how good are we are predicting likelihoods etc. Are there some things that we are better predicting than others? Again, what background skills and knowledge does someone need to do this well?

5. Conclusions and Recommendations (30%)

Develop a critical evaluation of the process of the risk assessment. You should start by reflecting on the purpose and expected benefits of a risk assessment. What are the final outcomes of the whole exercise? i.e. how do we judge whether a risk assessment has been beneficial or not?

How critical is it to identify all the risks associated with a particular case study? How critical is it to correctly estimate their likelihoods and impact factors? Compiling the risk register is only part of the risk management process. How does the content of the risk register determine how the risks are actually managed? By comparing theory to practice, discuss the effectiveness of risk management within your given case study.
Provide suggestions and recommendations on how the risk assessment process should be conducted; what lessons can be learned from your research? Are all risk assessments the same or are there significant differences depending on the application? Who should be involved and what particular skills and knowledge do they need? Should any measures be put in place to deal with the effects of different risk personalities or group culture? These recommendations can be derived from both your background reading and your own research.

Presentation and Quality of Writing (10%)
The report should be structured appropriately and written in a formal style, free from any spelling or grammatical errors. Please thoroughly proofread your work before submission. The report must be written in your own words, with the exception of any quotes which must be clearly indicated using double quotation marks. The use of any appropriate illustrations such as graphs or diagrams is welcomed but these should be labelled appropriately. Any detailed analysis of your results would best be summarised in the body of the report with lists of figures attached as an appendix.
For this exercise, you do not need to do a great deal of background reading and research. However, you should get into the habit of referencing your work correctly. So, whatever the source (books, industry/trade papers, Government white papers, journal articles), you are required to reference the source of all information found, using the Harvard style of referencing and provide a full reference list at the end.