Woman drinking water

IS THE RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN GOING TO WORK? 
Pillars for effective implementation
T Hasan
Publication Date (Web): 31 July 2017
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21139/wej.2017.024


INTRODUCTION
Poorly managed water supplies present a risk to the safety and aesthetic quality of drinking water. The greatest risk is from microbial contamination. In response to managing the risks and for protection of public health, having risk based management plans for drinking water quality is recognised as the most effective means in the Australian water industry, as well as globally.
With the risk management plan in place, the obvious question which comes to mind: is it going to achieve the desired benefits or outcomes? 
This paper discusses how to ensure effective implementation, which is the important piece of the puzzle between having a plan and achieving the desired benefits or outcomes. 

‘ACE’ PILLARS NEEDED
The ‘ACE’ pillars needed for effective implementation are:

1. Adequate plan or system
2. Champion to drive implementation 
3. Enabling environment 

Figure 1 shows the ‘ACE’ pillars in the overall context of the plan achieving desired benefits. 

ACE Pillars Needed for the Plan to Work

Figure 1: ‘ACE’ Pillars Needed for the Plan to Work
             
DISCUSSIONS
Adequate plan or system
“There is no benefit in implementing a plan that is not appropriate and relevant!”

GIGO (garbage in garbage out) describes what is being referred to, which is basically that the output is no better than the input. The risk plan should be adequate to manage risks, from catchment to consumer. This can be ensured through considering the ADWG as a reference when preparing the plan, undertaking comprehensive periodic reviews of the plan and internal/external audit of compliance with the plan.

Health check your plan using the guide below to inform need for a comprehensive review (‘yes’ means review). 
 
Champion to Drive Implementation 
“There is no value in having a plan if it is not going to be implemented!”

This is usually where implementation lags or fails. Often there is no person in the organisation who assumes or is given the role of a champion to drive implementation of the developed plan. A champion is needed to coordinate implementation of the various elements of the plan and provide motivation for implementation. The champion also acts as the link between the operational team, senior management and the regulator.

Enabling Environment 
“There is not going to be any implementation if there is no enabling environment!”

Success is dependent on whether an organisation provides the champion with the support needed for plan implementation. An enabling environment is required to support the champion implement the plan effectively, including, for example, finances, resources, skilled staff, executive support and time. 

CONCLUSION
For effective implementation, there should be an adequate plan which the champion will coordinate implementation of through an enabling environment. Without effective implementation, supported through the ‘ACE’ pillars, the plan will not achieve the desired benefits. 

 

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