Through our work in the sector since 1996, and using the “adverse outcomes” approach to risk definition, we have developed a set of around sixty standard risks for the housing association sector. In our view, most of the risks will apply to any association most of the time although a small number are dependent on an association being involved in particular activities, for example development for outright sale. For most associations, there also will be one or two risks to add to the standard set, due to the specific activities in which they are involved (for example, having a responsibility for sewage works).

For each of the standard risks, we have defined and recorded two levels of causes and a set of best practice controls, based on an analysis of these causes and the most effective controls in use across the sector. We also maintain and regularly review an evaluation of the risk assessment for a typical association for each of our standard risks, using a 5-point scale and taking account of, not only financial impacts but also the effect on the non-financial objectives that are important in the sector: regulatory action, growth and the effect upon residents / communities.

For new organisations, or for those seeking to renew their approach to risk management, use of the standard risks can drive a more efficient risk management process by avoiding the need to identify all of the risks to an association from scratch and to assist with getting reasonable assessments of these risks. Details of these standard risks are available in the members’ area. Members should contact us for the latest information on typical assessments and best practice controls.

HRS maintains a record of all the significant developments in the sector analysed against the standard risks. We monitor the housing press as signposts to a particular story and follow this up with more detailed research, particularly using on-line sources. Each story is then recorded in our master database and we are then able to produce reports showing all of the news stories relating to a particular risk or risk category within a specified time period.

This enables us to understand the development of particular trends over time and the causes and effects of particular events. We use this to inform our advisory work with clients and to drive the writing of the monthly HRS Reviews.


words of wisdom

"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."

Isaac Asimov




Hargreaves Risk and Strategy