Digitising risk assessment tools aim to reduce school paperwork

In a school setting, digitising compliance assessments can deliver much greater visibility around how schools manage risk.


When Sherryn Ross took over as Risk Assessment and Compliance Manager for St Joseph’s College in Geelong five years ago, the school had only a “fairly simple injury reporting mechanism” involving a yellow paper sheet.

Today, the school uses various digital risk assessment tools, making monitoring much more reliable.

“We now have got some really good data that made it easy for our staff to access those injury incident report forms,” she says.

“So, they can have it on their phones, laptops, or any device they have. It’s becoming a one-stop shop; we’ve been able to take that data and create reporting so all staff can see.”

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Digitising risk assessment boosts visibility

All schools are considered higher-risk environments that involve children and young people doing various activities, from science experiments to outdoor education, and even simply running around the playground.

Principal Consultant Risk and Compliance for Complispace John Oliver told EducationDaily that digitising risk and compliance assessments can deliver much greater visibility of how schools manage risk.

“School leaders need to know how risk is being managed and be able to respond quickly when they see gaps in their risk management processes,” he says.

“For example, incidents, injuries, and issues recorded manually on paper don’t readily allow for the linking of these with specific risks or for patterns of injuries to be identified when, in fact, those incidents may indicate a breakdown in the school’s risk controls. Digitising risk enables school leaders to see what is happening across their entire school risk landscape.”

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Clearer communication supports safety

For St Joseph’s College, which offers outdoor mountain biking, managing risk is especially important.

“When I was looking at them [the risk reports], they all seemed to have something to do with the pedals,” Ms Ross says.

“I was able to go to the team and say, ‘Look, we’ve got five incidents in the last six weeks; we’ve got this thing happening with the pedals; we need to do something about that’. What they did was change the pre-riding regime for students so that they were checking the safety and the workings of their bikes.”

Digital transformation management is key

Mr Oliver says now is the time for schools to develop a detailed plan to implement a digital transformation.

“Digital transformation should involve staged implementations of new digital systems and a change management plan,” he says.

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Failures can happen, Mr Ross says, due to implementation being run by the IT department rather than by the school leadership.

“In reality, digital transformation in the area of risk and compliance is about improving systems across the school, rather than simply regarding digital transformation as a new IT system.”

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