Skeletons In The Closet?

Commercial Government

minutes reading time

DATE PUBLISHED: December 9, 2019

So we’re at the end of the year – and we are all keen to wrap things up and start the beginning of the next decade fresh. Reflecting on the last decade, including things done, or left un-done, are you ready to tackle 2020?

Everyone has skeletons in their closet. If you don’t – you haven’t been trying hard enough.  The important thing is not how many, but whether you have identified and addressed those skeletons and you know where your risks are.  If you are ready to address your risks, read ahead.

Innovation in government with programs and policies all require you to try things that may not have been done before or to look at things that have been done and failed, but from a different perspective. You may also have decisions taken that have produced less than optimal outcomes.

We all know that it is important to learn from and actively resolve issues, challenges and consequences of less than optimal outcomes. But how do you do this in an efficient and cost effective manner? How do you make sure the same issues don’t happen again?

If you have any complex cases, longstanding or systemic issues it is important to take time and analyse those issues. Understanding the background, providing a safe environment for staff to call out issues, review them and look at other ways to do things is important to ensure not only resolution, but learning for more optimal future results.

Government cannot realistically entirely exclude liability from all risks – particularly reputational risk. 

Risk workshops help flush issues out and enable agencies to know exactly what and where their issues are. Independent assessments of risks help provide an arms-length perspective and offer solutions that may not be evident or seen from the inside.

Independent workshops, reviews and assessments can also help pin-point the risks and ramifications more clearly – and identify who is best to bear the risk, and how, if it is an ongoing issue.

Royal Commissions, ANAO Audits, Gateway Reviews, reporting obligations under legislation all draw these matters out – whether your agency is ready or not. It is always best to know where your skeletons are – and actively manage your risks.  It is not about having risks – it’s about knowing what they are and how to mitigate and manage those risks.

Bobbi Campbell has a deep understanding of Commonwealth Government frameworks, operating environment and needs, having worked in several Commonwealth departments and agencies over the last decade. Bobbi has worked and advised on ANAO audits, Royal Commissions and actively managed risk across policy and programs. She has also investigated high profile cases, and helped resolve complex issues without litigation.

Shelley Mulherin has been practising in commercial litigation since 2006 and specialises in commercial transactions and advice, dispute resolution and insolvency law. Shelley works for prominent professional advisors and businesses in the ACT within a range of sectors. Shelley works to protect the reputation and broad business interests of her clients and has a highly developed understanding of the risks they face. Shelley prides herself on achieving appropriate commercial resolutions at early stages and provides pragmatic advice to her clients on a range of technical legal issues.

If you have any questions or require any advice or assistance, contact Bobbi Campbell or Shelley Mulherin

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