And BSI launches a new risk management standard to encourage businesses to pursue opportunities

UK businesses are still prepared to take risks despite the tough economy, according to a new survey.

The BSI’s annual Business Barometer survey found that 74% of the FTSE 250 saw no difference in the willingness of their company to take risks now compared with one year ago.

Only 15% thought that their organisation would be less disposed to risk taking.

The research coincided with the launch of a new code of practice for risk management—BS31100.

‘The word ‘risk’ often has negative connotations and ‘management of risk’ can imply slowing things down which in turn threatens business growth and innovation. The new standard represents the contrary view that organisations should encourage opportunism and implement a risk management framework to cope with uncertainty,’ said BSI in a release accompanying the standard.

Julia Graham, AIRMIC chairman, chief risk officer of global legal practice DLA Piper and chair of the risk standard drafting committee, said: ‘The credit crunch and what has followed has woken Boards up to the fact that failures in risk management are fundamental problems and part of the reason why they are in the position they are in now.’

‘BS 31100 raises the profile of risk management at just the right time and I think it could become a benchmark for organisations that do not want to make the same mistakes others have made.’

Mike Low, director of BSI, said: ‘Publication of BS 31100 could not be more timely. This standard provides a set of clear and simple guidelines which positions risk taking as a positive business facet.’

The survey also found that:

93% of companies surveyed have both a risk management framework and risk management process in place

94% of companies employ a risk manager or someone who takes overall responsibility for risk

90% agreed that risk management reduces the likelihood of events that would have a negative consequence

87% of those surveyed believe that risk management protects revenue and enhances value for money

49% of organizations view risk taking as a primarily positive activity (22% said they viewed it as ‘very positive’)

93% agreed that risk management improves accountability, decision making, transparency and visibility