The use of Corporate Risk Analysis to improve pilot programs
Corporate risk analysis is often used in public companies to assess the viability of projects, but it is rarely used by government agencies. Risk in this context is the chance that something will happen that will have an impact upon the organisation's objectives.
In this paper we apply corporate risk analysis to a pilot natural resource management program called 'River Tender'. River Tender is a pilot project implemented by North East Catchment Management Authority that seeks to improve riparian areas in the Ovens Catchment. It does this by inviting landholders to submit bids for funding to assist with the adoption of best management practices.
Our approach was use participant interviews and document analysis to systematically cluster risks around the five key themes (economic; technological; human; governance; and socio-cultural) that encompass NE CMA's tactical environment. We found some risks such as economic ones to do cost estimation were well managed; while others such as the human ones to do with staff workload and unrealistic deadlines need improvement. The results show that corporate risk analysis provides a useful framework in learning how to improve pilot projects. With increasing calls for accountability of public funds, coupled with an imperative to trial innovations in land stewardship programs, corporate risk analysis will become an important tool for natural resource management agencies.