Risk Management

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​Purpose of this policy

To detail the minimum requirements for risk management in schools.


School staff must use the Department’s Risk Management Policy as detailed in the Enhanced Risk Management Policy, see: Risk Management – Risk Framework (Download ERM Policy). The core aim of the policy is the proactive management of risk and opportunities, to improve decisions and outcomes.

Management of risk is everyone’s responsibility.

Principals are responsible for:

  • identifying and managing risks which affect or may impact their responsibilities
  • ensuring that risk strategies and processes are in place
  • promoting the application of risk management including providing appropriate risk management training
  • aligning resource allocation, decision making and corporate governance with risk management
  • monitoring and reviewing identified risks in a systematic and timely manner
  • ensuring appropriate records of assessed risks are maintained.

School councils must inform the Minister and the Departmental Head of known major risks to the effective operation of the school and the risk management systems that it has in place to address these risks (based on Section 81 (1b) of the Public Administration Act 2004).

Effective risk management

A strong risk culture does not mean a culture of risk aversion. Risk management maximises the ability to deliver on school objectives, promotes sound decision making, works to safeguard child, student and employee wellbeing and contributes to meeting community and Government expectations for accountable and responsible use of public resources.

A critical element of  delivering effective risk management is to apply the standard process in all areas. This can include:

  • occupational health and safety risk management for staff and students
  • emergency management planning and incident reporting
  • financial management planning including school council financial audits
  • the School Accountability and Improvement Framework
  • the Department’s Fraud Control Framework and school council governance processes
  • the Education Outdoors planning process
  • reputation management.

Making risk management work

Each school should have a risk management policy detailing how the Enhanced Risk Management Framework will be implemented and delivered within the school, see: Risk Management in Schools (Risk Toolkit & Guides) - Sample School Risk Policy.

Schools are to maintain a risk register detailing all risk to school visions objectives and goals as well as risks to governance and any other business activities. It would not include OH&S hazards which are to be captured in accordance with the OHS Management System, see: Health, Safety and WorkSafe - OHS Management System (OHSMS). A sample register which can be edited and has automatic tools embedded is available, see: Risk Management in Schools – Risk Register.

Subordinate risk registers may also be established for specific activities such as overseas travel/excursions or projects, see: Risk Management in Outdoor Education – Education Outdoor tools.

The leadership team and school council should regularly review the risk register to ensure controls remain effective, treatments are being implemented and residual risks remain tolerable.   To be effective, the school’s risk management, improvement and accountability processes must be monitored and coordinated by either a:

  • staff member
  • management committee, or
  • an existing school standing committee taking it on as an additional responsibility.

A program of risk management training including an element in induction training will enhance risk management application and culture. The online module may assist in getting started, see: Risk Management - Online Risk Module.

Important: Risk management is about better planning and decision making to improve educational outcomes.

Risk management process

The flow chart below outlines the Department’s risk management process. The Enhanced Risk Management Framework and this process are described in detail in the Risk Management site which has an online training module as well as school specific sections and tools, see: Risk Management

flow chart of risk management process 

Related legislation

  • Public Administration Act 2004 (Section 81, part 1b)

Department resources