23 Oct 2023
by Karen Locke
What is your role as an ALARM Board Director and what are your responsibilities?

I am currently serving a two-year term as President. Each of our Directors have a portfolio they are responsible for and I’m no different - mine is Leadership and Influence. As President, my role is naturally a leadership one. We have a great Board of Directors, with a fantastic team spirit, so it’s not difficult to lead in that sense at all. I also want to lead on behalf of our members, to ensure that their voices can be heard, and that ALARM (and the professions we represent) has influence.

How long have you been a Board director and what brought you to the role?

I have been on the Board in one capacity or another since April 2020. I had been actively involved in the ALARM Scotland Group and chaired it for three years. When I came to the end of that tenure, I still really wanted to be closely involved in all things ALARM. I was asked if I would like to go along to some Board meetings to observe, but it very quickly got under my skin! The rest as they say, is history.

I am very conscious that I stepped into the role of President without a long history on the Board, but the timing was just right for me. I shadowed the incumbent President at the time, Wayne Rigby, for two years to prepare for the role. We make the most of our resilience as a Board with two-year tenures for President and President-Elect.

What do you enjoy most about being a Board Director?

I’m conscious this could sound trite, but I have benefitted so much from ALARM, so I enjoy being able to give back and making a difference. On a personal note, I don’t think my fellow Directors will at all mind me saying that we’re a pretty varied bunch of individuals, but the genuine care for each other and for ALARM is very special.

What skills and learning have you taken from your role as Board Director?

I’ve always had an appreciation of the importance of governance in any organisation but from a technical perspective, being a Director has taught me considerably more about company law. Through Director development I have also benefitted from softer skills sessions which have been really helpful and insightful. I also have a much deeper appreciation for the work and support of our sponsors.

What is your role in your day job and what are your responsibilities?

My day job is as a Risk Manager at Renfrewshire Council. I lead on the ongoing development of the Council’s risk management framework, working with our corporate risk management group and leading on risk management training and development. I also have responsibility for our insurance-related policies and contracts.

What is the one piece of advice you would offer someone entering your profession?

Relationships! As a risk management professional, you have a lot to offer your organisation. Start by really getting to know your organisation and your colleagues, especially your chief executive and directors. We in the profession know that good risk management adds value, but we need to do more to prove it.

What would you say to someone considering getting involved in ALARM?

As I said earlier, each Director is working on a portfolio of interest or activity, and we would always welcome additional support. You will be hearing from each of them over the coming months as to what they are working on, so if there is anything that you would be interested in being more involved in, be bold, make it known because you will not regret it!

What can members expect to see from ALARM?

It is my pleasure to introduce our first guidance document on Unregulated placements for looked after children and care leavers. In a new ALARM series, Industry Influence Update. These documents will share the latest information and insight on specific subjects impacting the world of risk in UK public services.

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