You use these performance monitoring reports during the year to evaluate how well the School Board is achieving its objectives, and to oversee the effectiveness of risk management.
Evaluation should include consideration of:
- Actual performance compared to planned performance (goals/objectives/KPI’s);
- Actual performance compared to available benchmarks, and;
- Management discussion and analysis of significant variances.
In addition to performance, financial and exception reports, you may also ask for a summary of results in a performance dashboard, using colour coding and other visual aids:
Look for variances between what is actually happening and what was anticipated to happen. And when you see significant gaps, you ask why, using a risk context, i.e.:
- This is due to a risk that was not anticipated (not in risk inventory),
- This is due to a risk that was not accurately assessed or measured (its likelihood or impact was probably underestimated), or
- This is due to a risk that was not optimally mitigated.
The purpose in asking these questions is not to attribute blame, but to enter into a more informed dialogue with management over what can be done better in the future. In particular, the remedy may be to change strategy, to allocate additional (or less) resources to mitigate the risk, or even to adjust the risk tolerance (policy) itself.
The results of performance evaluation are therefore two-fold:
- As an input into performance oversight to measure achievement, and
- As an input in to the next planning process to make planning adjustments.
All of which illustrates that the real purpose of risk management and risk governance is not to “get it right”, it is not a compliance and disclosure system. The real purpose is to learn, to “get a little smarter” at every iteration, and to make more informed resource allocation choices in the future versus the past. It is about reasonableness, appropriateness, plausibility and confidence.
A Safe and Supportive Environment
All school divisions have a large and valuable infrastructure of buildings, vehicles, and equipment that supports the educational program. School boards are responsible for staff maintaining all those facilities, now and in the future. School boards are also responsible for ensuring the school environment is safe and secure.
The school board is responsible for ensuring a safe and supportive environment for teaching and learning: Because the school board is accountable when things go wrong, it just makes sense that the board will take proactive steps to ensure that schools are safe places to learn and work. School boards need to take a broad perspective. Issues range from air quality and bullying, to establishing a positive work environment, to retaining staff.
For example, you will want to know how your school system minimizes the risk of damage, lawsuits and injury for the following activities or events:
|· Group rental of school facilities
· Transportation of preschool children
· School class trips
· Out of country travel
|· Physical education activities
· Outbreaks of flu or contagious disease
· Unnecessary absenteeism by students and staff
· Bus transportation to and from school
Effective school boards create and monitor policies: the school board can’t and shouldn’t be taking care of every detail or overseeing every school activity. Therefore, the school board ensures that appropriate strategies and policies are in place, and then monitors compliance with these.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association offers numerous services that help school boards create safe and supportive environments in the schools of their division. These services include a comprehensive insurance program, legal services, an employee benefits program, and support for many aspects of employee relations.
The school division’s buildings and their contents are worth many millions of dollars and may not be easily replaceable. In many communities there is no other appropriate facility for schooling. If a school were to burn down, the students would have to be dispersed to a series of offices and warehouses around town or bussed elsewhere until a new school could be built. Collections of books and other educational materials that are accumulated over time would be costly and time-consuming to replace. A serious mould problem in a school could render the school unusable and be almost as devastating as a fire.
Adequate loss prevention protocols are essential for all school boards.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association offers comprehensive insurance program to its member boards. This insurance coverage includes:
- Property insurance – a self-funded loss pool for buildings and contents.
- General liability insurance – a self-funded pool.
- Sexual abuse and molestation insurance – a self-funded pool.
- Air quality insurance – a self-insurance pool to defend boards from air quality lawsuits.
- Boiler and machinery insurance.
Coverages are also available through the Association’s insurance brokers for board member accident, school board errors and omissions, student accident, school bus liability, umbrella liability, crime construction insurance, and miscellaneous event coverage.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association insurance plan provides direct advice and services to the Association and school boards and also serves as a representative for boards in many initiatives. The strength of the program comes from the large number of boards participating. Together we have the market clout that individual boards might lack.