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The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a mandate to provide information, instruction and training to enable Delegated State Authorities (DSAs) ascertain the extent of risk present and furthermore to provide advices on the appropriate measures to counter and control those risks identified.

One of the greatest challenges faced by the Agency is the communication of our advices to mitigate litigation risk to the appropriate target audience within each client State authority and healthcare enterprise.

Since its launch in 2007, the Enterprise Risk Management Network (ERMN/The Network) has not only proven to be an effective vehicle for disseminating advices but also in acting as a knowledge sharing forum, where individual Network members can share their knowledge and experience or seek the advices of others who are operating under the public sector umbrella. Recent delegation of claims management orders in 2014 and 2015 more than doubled the number of DSAs availing of State indemnity, bringing to 129 the number of State bodies and agencies indemnified with respect to the General Indemnity Scheme. Consequently, this has led to a greatly increased membership of the Network. To facilitate this expansion, a decision was taken to relaunch the Network in July 2015 in order to welcome each body formally and to introduce the newly delegated Authorities to the concept of State indemnity.

Network Relaunch

The July relaunch was facilitated by one of the founder members of the Network, the Office of Public Works, who kindly offered the auditorium of the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin as a venue. As all DSAs have vehicles on the road, be they part of a fleet or employees using their own private vehicles for work, the topic of motor guidance was chosen. The seminar was opened by Ciarán Breen, Director and Pat Kirwan, Deputy Director then provided some background on the Network and introduced the topics for the day. Pat also spoke briefly about the new Network Charter which the SCA has requested that each DSA have signed by a management representative at senior level. The Charter outlines the risk management roles and responsibilities of all parties concerned and reiterates our commitment to engage in a positive manner.

Fiona Kearns, Senior Enterprise Risk Manager addressed the audience on the State Indemnity & Driving for Work – Motor Guidance document. The SCA has a query response service, which is available to DSAs for queries in relation to State indemnity and also provides risk management advices. This was the first specific motor insurance guidance document published by the SCA. The motor guidance was developed from the advices provided through this service, along with best practice and departmental policy.

National Gallery of Ireland Event

The second Network event of the year took place in the National Gallery of Ireland on the 24th November. The programme of work for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) over 2015/16 includes a review of safety management systems within the public sector. Having completed some inspections on Network authorities beforehand, they felt they had garnered enough information to present generally on their findings to date and also on what public sector authorities might expect from such an inspection. HSA inspectors, Anna Maria O’Connor and Thomas Doyle provided interesting and informative presentations on what they would expect from a safety management system generally and also on the HSA’s approach to safety management in the context of the public sector.

Anna Maria reported a number of positive findings on those Authorities inspected to date, namely evidence of sufficient safety management system documentation, operational controls, training provision, reporting of accidents and emergency planning, to name a few. However, there were also some areas for improvement, concerning issues such as the appointment of competent persons, lack of evidence of a legal register, key performance indicators or a top management review.

Following this, the SCA’s Theresa Doyle, Enterprise Risk Manager, offered some tips to the attendees on being prepared for an inspection from the auditee’s point of view and also outlined how the SCA’s Enterprise Risk Management Section is available to provide advice should the attendees require it. Following on with our State indemnity guidance series, the latest installment on “Business and personal use of State vehicles” outlines the States position in relation to indemnity provisions for this issue.

The feedback received indicated that the attendees found both seminars to be a valuable and worthwhile proposition and it is hoped that we will see many of you at the next Network meeting in Q2 2016. If you are interested in finding out more about the Network, please email the ERMS at

Article by: Myles Tynan, Enterprise Risk Manager, State Claims Agency

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