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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2013
19 education departments. Michael Cosgrove, business assurance manager at the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association (PMSA), is one of those new appointments who are developing both a holistic and regulatory approach to compliance a nd risk management at the schools in this body. He is acutely aware of the increasing incidences of cyber bullying, playground torment and the need to keep children safe while being educated. Cosgrove says social media is a sleeping giant that schools are only now waking up to. He knows of one school in northern Queensland that banned its students from mentioning the name of their school on Facebook and other social media. This edict stir red debates about whether children should be treated as adults or protected from sexual predators targeting children when they find out what school they attend. PMSA has 5208 children and 730 staff at three schools in Brisbane and one on Gold Coast. With the recent creation of his role Cosgrove participates in governance level committees and looks at contributing to governance, risk and compliance issues on both a "big picture" and "micro" scale. "School staff are doing a lot of risk management of the holistic variety, not just work, health and safety/compliance," he says. "The introduction of a formal risk management framework [into all schools] will be a tool, which helps professional staff to identify gaps in risk practice, and hopefully, will give them an extra sense of why their role is important in the school. "While schools share a largely common risk profile, the reality is that every school also has its differences. A risk management process takes time to understand these differences. "It is importa nt when implementing a for mal practice of risk management in schools that risk assurance managers be seen to support an environment and culture that encourages and empowers key staff to identify gaps in actual practice, versus 'better' practice. The manager must also show those staff members that the risk manager respects their professional judgement and experience in how these gaps can be best addressed, given the unique factors which are part of their school community. "When you look at community expectations of schools and the resources to deliver these there is a bit of a gap." Legislative load Deborah Vitlin, head teacher, compliance and human resources, at Presbyterian Ladies College in Sydney, says schools are being subjected to increasing and detailed legislative and regulatory requirements associated with compliance. (see list of acts and regulations on page 21). She says the "complia nce burden" is getting X When the Rudd government promised a laptop for every school child, it created an unintended and unfunded ongoing compliance issue for schools to manage. It's one thing to connect children to the internet, but who is going to manage the risks that this policy initiative has created? Martin Tolar, Managing Director, ACI.
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