I’d like to express huge congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s StrategicRISK European Risk Management Awards. We tend to say this every year but it’s really true that the standard of entries just keeps on getting better.

Against a backdrop of tough economic times and a tricky operating environment we received a record number of entries this year, well over a hundred in total. This list was independently whittled down to 50 shortlisted candidates (you can’t win an SR Award by buttering up the editor, sadly!).

Next our expert judging panel sat down together for a day to mull over the entries and decide on a winner in each of the 10 Award categories:

Best Business Continuity Approach
Most Innovative Use of IT or Other Technology
Best Risk Communication of the Year
Enterprise Risk Management Programme of the Year
Risk Management Team of the Year
Best Risk Training Programme
Best Risk Management Approach in the Public Sector
Risk Management Young Achiever of the Year
European Risk Manager of the Year.

I sat in on the Awards judging and I can testify that the judges were not easily impressed. To win an Award you have to demonstrate innovation and clearly show what benefits your organisation has derived from the risk management initiative which has been undertaken. There’s not always a clear winner and in that case the judges are not afraid to eliminate a category from the competition rather than reward an entry which doesn’t quite live up to the strict standards.

Having said that there were plenty of entries that far exceeded expectations and simply blew the judges away. These were the organisations that had defied the odds and demonstrated excellence in the face of a really tough business environment. Rentokil, Sonae Sierra, SAP, Sibur, Trimble , Amlin, Woodleigh Outreach Support Service, are all organisations that deserve to be commended for their tireless efforts in the realm of risk management.

While Rachelle Banham from Hertfordshire Constabulary Group, and Igor Mikhaylov, of Russia’s Mobile Telesystems, are individuals who really shone through as exceptionally high achievers.

Not to forget the Special Commendations that the judges felt compelled to dole out. These are awarded when the judges feel an entry is so good that it deserves to be recognised but it narrowly misses out on the top spot. The high number of these just goes to prove how many great entries we received this year.

In recognition of their special achievements plaudits must go to: London Borough of Lambeth , Aéroports de Paris, Maplecroft, London Underground, and John Ludlow from InterContinental Hotel Group.

Now in their eighth year, StrategicRISK’s European Risk Management Awards will continue to provide a platform for risk management professionals to showcase their talents and demonstrate excellence. StrategicRISK considers it our mission to support, promote and help to develop risk management talent around Europe and the Awards are a vital part of that programme.

The Awards platform will exist for as long as risk management achievers are willing to put themselves forward, to stand up and be recognised. It can be tough sometimes, I understand that some risk managers prefer not to stick their heads up above the parapet in case something does go wrong and they’re left a little red faced.

But I encourage anyone in the risk management profession who has achieved something remarkable to enter next year’s StrategicRISK European Risk Management Awards and let the industry recognise and reward their achievements.