1. The proper management of risk cannot be separated from good quality care and is integral to meeting the full needs of people with mental health problems.
i. Any organisation providing mental health care should establish a group of individuals to function as a Risk Management Committee.
ii. The Risk Management Committee should include the main stakeholders in care provision. For example:
users of the service;
those who care for them;
direct care workers, including experienced clinical staff;
"front of house" staff (such as receptionists and telephonists);
liaison workers from partner organisations;
those responsible for developing operational policies and their implementation;
estates officer; and
information services manager;
smaller organisations should appoint a risk group even if the range of staff is not employed and the group consists of the organisation staff alone;
iii. The main functions of the Risk Management Committee are to:
promote and review good practice in reducing risk;
ensure a regular audit of buildings and practice to minimise risk;
oversee the provision of comprehensive and continuing training for staff in risk management;
oversee the development of risk related operational policies for units delivering services;
stimulate safe practice by promoting appropriate mechanisms (self audit, critical incident reviews, near miss reporting and the setting up of a confidential information line);
identify areas of high risk (buildings, procedures and populations dealt with);
ensure the dissemination of lessons learned from incident reviews to other areas of the service;
ensure action has been taken to "complete the loop" on changes in practice, equipment or buildings required from previous reviews.
iv. In NHS Trusts the Risk Management Committee should have close links to the senior management team by being chaired by the Medical Director or the Director of Nursing Services. A Non-Executive Board Director should be assigned to have a specific interest in all aspects of risk management and should co-ordinate a regular (quarterly) report to the Board on risk.
v. The Risk Management Committee should form part of the Trust Clinical Governance system, but should be functionally distinct. It is for individual Trusts to decide whether one Committee should cover primary and secondary care.
vi. Risk Management Committees should report publicly, perhaps at the Trust Annual General Meeting.
vii. Risk Management Committees should feed into a national network to assist benchmarking and the sharing of good practice.