Former CFO Discusses Public Sector Risk Management

Former CFO at the Department of Education, Doug Webster, was on a segment of Government Matters this week to discuss the best practices for enterprise risk management (ERM) as government agencies deal with the risks of the partial government shutdown.

Webster sees risks in the private and public sector as being very similar, but it’s in the public sector where altering risk culture is the most important.

“The biggest challenge of enterprise risk management, whether it’s public sector or private sector, is getting a culture willing to be transparent on what the risks are. Too often folks think of risk as something bad,” Webster said, on the segment.

When attempting to manage risks that arise for agencies, Webster highlighted developing a risk-informed culture and continuously working to manage risk. Employees within the agency must start to think more openly about what potential risks may arise and acknowledge those risks. It’s important to not always view risks as a negative.

Continuously managing risk feels like a no-brainer, but Webster feels that far too often organizations look at risk management as a compliance exercise or a box to check off on a to-do list. He mentions that risks don’t operate on a schedule so keeping the ERM front-of-mind is essential.

“Risks are a matter of life, and if you don’t recognize those risks, then you can’t manage them,” Webster added.

Recent