London Underground replaces manual risk management with web-based system

Risk evaluation software improves on London's Tube system.

Risk evaluation software improves on London's Tube system.

With more than three million journeys taken every day on the London Underground, a secure and reliable method for recording and evaluating risk is needed for passenger and staff safety.

After having a manual risk register for more than a year, London Underground decided to implement a web-based active risk management system from Strategic Thought, which was installed in October 2002.

Richard Browning, business planning and performance manager at London Underground, said, "Risk management is an intrinsic part of London Underground and this was an opportunity to formalise our processes."

The system is used to manage a wide range of risk including financial, infrastructure, reputation and service continuity risk (keeping the trains running).

The number of users of the system has increased from 50 to more than 90, mainly at the London Underground head office.

In the past, risk factors were identified and then evaluated, but the new system means that individuals can be assigned plans to mitigate specific risks. The control feedback in the active risk manager monitors the progress of those plans to see whether deadlines are met.

Browning said, "The risk record is not just there to be evaluated and admired. We now have the ability to do something.

"Each departmental director tracks and manages their own risks. For example, the director of human resources has a different set of risks to the finance director."

In each department there is a key risk representative who acts as a liaison point. Their responsibility is to update the system, link with different departments and managers and identify and discuss the risks.

This enables most communication to be carried out face-to-face which helps with interpretation and understanding. The individual risk registers are then analysed at head office.

London Underground plans to share its data on risks with its partners and is currently working with Strategic Thought on methods of reporting this information.

Browning said, "London Underground directors have been fully supportive of the introduction of the risk management system and the top-down support has encouraged risk management throughout the business - we have to rely on people to put data into the system."

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