Annex 1.A1: Framing Risk in the Public Sector (Risk and Regulatory Policy: Improving the Governance of Risk)

Because the reduction of risks is a pervasive part of government activity, the management of risks is a primary function embedded in the operations of capable governments. In practical terms, government action provides protection for citizens against myriad risks every day. However, this is clearly being done better for some risks (and in some countries) than for others. Meeting the challenges from new emerging risks is a constant source of pressure on government administrations that can result in reactive regulatory responses. The political consequences of failing to manage risks are significant. Elections can be won or lost on the public estimation of a government's capacity to manage particular risks, and the choices made at the administrative level about the treatment of risks are also under increasing scrutiny and pressure from interest groups, particularly when viewed retrospectively following a critical event. Governments can only benefit from a better understanding of how to assess, manage and communicate with the public about risks at both the political and the administrative level.
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