July stronger - Add food waste to the risk menu

Monday 19 July 2021

Our successful, first ever virtual ALARM Conference in June covered a range of topics under the title of ‘the balancing act’. It reflects what we have all been maintaining since the start of the pandemic crisis, and continue to do now, in different ways. Much of what is contained in this issue of stronger falls into the same category, as we reflect on some of the issues and trends that many of you are balancing or will be tackling in the near future. 

In our first part of what Jo Seaward from Risk Management Partners has written on councils’ commercial interests (page 6) we see financial decisions made a decade ago (and right up to 2020), knocked out of kilter by the economic effects of the pandemic. 

The ongoing Grenfell Inquiry has shown there needs to be a new balance of responsibilities for the fire safety of buildings. Gary Pryce at Sedgwick writes (on page 11) of a multioccupancy, high-rise fire, the tragic consequences of which could have been averted if essential checks and appropriate risk assessments had been carried  out. Fire safety also features in Andrew Gray's article (page 67) as the hazards of modern balcony use include using and storing items that not only present danger to the owner/occupier of the balcony, but other properties and people in the vicinity too. 

Strategically, the balance all organisations, employers and employees seek to achieve is the developing role of digital and automated services. Alix Bedford from Zurich Municipal outlines the advances, advantages and risks involved (on page 30). When are people and automation at their best, and when is a combination the ultimate solution? Answers to these questions will change, as rapid technological advancements offer new options for interactions at  work, in providing services, and at home.

What trees do for us, environments, and the earth, does not go unappreciated. It is sad to see the scarring of land across the UK as ash trees are felled and removed, due to Ash Dieback disease. The importance of maintaining a balance between the safety issues and the beneficial effects of this vast population of native trees is discussed by Sarah Dodd at DAC Beachcroft in her Smart Guide (on page 64). 

From an operational perspective, councils across the UK are balancing risks of road safety and personal security, with energy efficiency and money saving, on the issue of street lighting. Reading stronger editor, Adele Cherreson Cole’s analysis (on page 40) made me realise how complex the seemingly ordinary public service of streetlighting has become. Nationally the debate on the perception of personal security and the freedom of women is topical and has extended to include the role of streetlighting, and management of public spaces in general. How do we make public spaces, safer spaces for half the population?

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