Strengthening Risk Management Processes in Higher Education

Alcumus now supports 20 Universities across the UK with their EHSQ management, including Herriot-Watt University, University of Sheffield (AMRC), Staffordshire University, and the University of Strathclyde.

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Written by: alcumus
1st April

While the need to manage risk is widely recognised within businesses, it’s also just as important and a growing priority in the academic world. With many colleges and Universities rethinking how they look at risk, the education sector is managing a multitude of operational and compliance risks, from health and safety, data breaches to ethical issues, all of which have an impact on financial health and reputation.

With COVID-19 having brought many existing and known university concerns to the surface, departments, faculties and schools need to collaborate better to understand various risks and use data for greater insight to remain agile in changing circumstances and reduce vulnerability.

Despite the progress that institutions have made, there’s still more that can be done to drive positive change and areas for improvement across the educational sector. From policies and procedures to systems and solutions, there are many factors to consider when it comes to a robust risk management programme.

Health, safety and wellbeing: Keeping students and staff safe should be top priority and will help to mitigate the risks around injuries and accidents and prevent financial and indirect costs of getting it wrong and remain compliant.

COVID-19: Despite lifting restrictions, robust health and safety measures need to be in place to limit further COVID outbreaks.

Incident and accident management: Organisations are legally obliged to record and report specific injuries, illnesses and incidents to comply with accident reporting regulations, which are more commonly known as RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

Supply chain and contractor management: A challenging aspect is how to manage and source contractors and suppliers and make sure the products and services they deliver are safe and of the highest quality and that contractors can do the job safely and without risks.

Property compliance: Across all campus buildings and accommodation, coordinating all health, safety and maintenance related work, inspections and mandatory checks are required to manage and measure your overall compliance.

Data security and remote learning: A data breach risk can negatively impact your reputation, so you need to make sure that you’re compliant and the data you collect is secure. COVID-19 has also meant a switch to remote learning, a transition that unfortunately left many students and educators vulnerable to cyber risks.

European Union changes: With Brexit came a wide-ranging impact on the higher education sector and the risk of losing £62.5 million annually due to post-Brexit rules for European Union (EU) students. Universities also have a critical role in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the more recent EU Green Deal to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050. The Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) is also a consideration with a renewed EU policy initiative accelerating digital adoption in higher education.

Alcumus now supports 20 Universities across the UK with their EHSQ management, including  Herriot-Watt University, University of Sheffield (AMRC), Staffordshire University, and the University of Strathclyde.


“Alcumus has enabled us to have access to the right information, in the right place and at the right time. This is the functionality we need to be able to react to things and resolve any issues that may occur.” Lorraine Russell, Health and Safety Manager, Heriot-Watt University

“To effectively manage our operational risk and reduce the time spent on tracking, managing and reporting, making sure we have one true view through a technology-led approach and real-time insights was a key focus for us.” Stephen Davies, Head of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the AMRC

“This partnership with Alcumus advances our digital approach to all of our operations and ensures that we can manage risk effectively to the benefit of everyone at the University.” Sue Emery, Staffordshire University’s Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing


If you’d like to learn more, download our free brochure: “A Guide to Strengthening Risk Management Processes in Higher Education”, which explains a range of measures and safety commitments so that colleges and Universities are better prepared and can identify and mitigate risks that help to build a strong platform for ongoing success.