Risk assessment framework
The risk assessment framework gives Culture Shift partners a series of questions to enable them to ground the context of incidents of harassment and bullying, right through from the point of first disclosure to any potential disciplinary action.
The framework was built on the principle of fair treatment to all parties, focusing on assessing the risk to others, providing balanced support to individuals and identifying possible interventions or interim measures.
It can apply to all different types of behaviours, enabling you to provide a detailed assessment and determine the next steps. It’s been developed with best-practice and trauma-informed practice in mind, whilst balancing legal obligations such as safeguarding, equality law, employment law, criminal law and data protection.
Some of the questions may not be applicable for every case, for example, not all cases will go through an investigation or disciplinary procedure. But the framework does provide clear instruction to document all decisions and outcomes, and to update these regularly. This is essential in communicating the reasoning for decisions both to internal parties, and if necessary to third parties or during processes such as employment tribunals or the criminal justice system.
What happens when you don’t apply a framework to assessing risk in bullying and harassment cases?
If the risk and impact to individuals is not identified or effectively addressed it can lead to a cultural acceptance that the behaviour is okay, or to an escalation of these behaviours and further victimisation of the individuals who have experienced them.
There’s also the risk that people within your organisation will believe that nothing will be done where concerns of unacceptable behaviour have been raised, which remains the key reason people choose to report anonymously.
Should it be applied for every type of case?
Yes, there are a range of different risks to be assessed, including low risks, but it is an important part of effective and consistent case management to undertake this process – even if the risk is low.
Risk can change over time, and it’s important to document this thinking as it develops. If not, organisations run the risk of behaviour escalating and having to ‘fire fight’, rather than engage in early intervention and effective prevention.
What if the risk profile changes during the case?
It’s important to set a regular review point to assess the risk, you will agree this depending on the nature of the behaviour and risk during the first risk assessment panel. We suggest that you complete a new risk assessment form for each review so that you can effectively capture the considerations made and decision each time. This is also important if the case is referred to external processes such as employment tribunal, or the criminal justice system.