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Risk Book

by msecadm4921

A new book by Andy Bain and David Carson of Portsmouth University’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, looks at risk.

Risk has become a very popular topic; academics research it, professionals face it daily, politicians avoid it, tabloid journalists mythologise it.

It focuses on the risk decisions which professionals – such as those in health care, social care and criminal justice – must take, or advise on, daily. It highlights many ways in which current practices makes it so much easier for lazy thinkers to inappropriately blame decision-makers. It shows how the law of negligence supports professionalism, identifying a range of practical interventions to facilitate quality decisions and professional pride.

It identifies many ways in which managers and employers make quality risk-taking, by their staff, more difficult and dangerous – suggesting that lawyers should refocus their attention. It recommends, amongst much else, that employers should publicly endorse a number of precepts about professional risk-taking. These would proclaim simple truths – for example that it is inappropriate to judge risk decisions by their outcomes – which are so readily ignored or misunderstood in practice.

What they say

“Many current practices invite criticism and liability because they have become unthinking,” argues David Carson. “’Health and safety’ or ‘because of a risk assessment’ have, too often, been accepted as justifications for poorly thought through decisions, even prohibitions. Even the Health and Safety Executive, like the book (and the law), argue for balanced decisions, and criticise the many myths that have developed. Risk decisions require both risk assessments and risk management. The failure to think carefully about risk is – well, dangerous.”

Carson, D and Bain, AJ (2008). Professional Risk and Working with People: Decision-making in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications

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