Risk management is one of the eleven principles of best practice in regulatory enforcement as defined by the OECD. Risk management is a method that supports decision-making processes under conditions of uncertainty, and is fundamental to any regulation policy. According to this method, the resources invested in regulation need to be proportionate to the risk level, with enforcement actions designed to reduce the risk caused due to failure to meet service provision requirements and standards.
In systems responsible for regulating social services, the efficiency of supervision is highly important in order to prevent regulatory overload and unnecessary resource investment. This applies in particular to cases where supervision resources are limited. Thus, mapping regulated setting according to their risk levels enables an efficient allocation of supervision resources, as it enables to prioritize and direct more resources to settings where the risk level is higher, and reduce the resources invested in lower-risk settings.
The Administration of Quality, Supervision, and Control at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs (hereafter, Ministry) asked the quality assurance team of the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute to help it develop a risk management tool that would map the regulated services according to risk level. This document describes the development of this instrument and presents guidelines to Ministry inspectors on how to use it.
The risk management tool is designed to serve the inspectors in planning their work, both from the overview perspective of all services under their responsibility and in making decisions regarding the regulatory tasks in each service, including frequency of on-site visits, the scope and depth of the inspection, and the issues inspected. In addition, that tool can serve the headquarters and district in prioritizing resources for settings and areas based on risk levels, from a systemic perspective.
The risk management tool was developed from October 2021 to December 2022, based on participatory and consulting processes with representatives of the Senior Citizens Administration, Disabilities Administration, Personal and Social Services Administration, and the Rehabilitation, Support and Prevention Administration at the Ministry, as well as with experts from academia and the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, as well as on professional literature. The development process included four stages: (1) Meetings with general staff representatives in the administration, to finetune the risk factors and assess the services’ risk level; (2) Delphi survey; (3) Additional meetings with general staff representatives in the administration to present the findings; and (4) a meeting with inspectors, where they practiced using the tool.
Eight risk management tools were developed, each tailored to a specific division and administration in the Ministry. The risk level of a service is determined by the likelihood of damage to the physical health or wellbeing of service users, or by the degree of uncertainty regarding their operations. The range of factors affecting the risk level of a service may be classified into four general issues: the characteristics of the service, the characteristics of its population; the service’s level of functioning; and supervisory aspects. The eight tools developed are organized according to these issues, such that within each there are differences between administrations and divisions in terms of the factors affecting the risk level.