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Community and living, Community Safety

New risk business is first council ‘spin out’ of its kind

CRS cake

A risk and insurance trading company has been set up by Lambeth Council to help community groups operate more effectively.

Capitalising on the expertise of the risk and insurance team at Lambeth Council; Community Risk Services (CRS) will provide advice and support to community groups based in Lambeth but has the ability to do business anywhere in Britain.

The company which will operate in a similar way to a social enterprise will be overseen by a management board made up of volunteers from a range of professional backgrounds.

The surplus it generates will be re-invested into community good causes (decided by a community vote) and to help fund council services.

Following its launch today, CRS will offer a range of services to help community groups better understand the types of risk they face, like fire, flood, crime, data breaches and reputational damage, and how those risks can be managed and mitigated by having the right plans and insurances in place. Many community groups ignore or don’t fully understand the benefits of risk monitoring and may not buy the right insurance leaving them potentially vulnerable to unanticipated losses.

Although it is not unusual for trading companies to be set up by local authorities –also known as ‘spinning out’ – it’s thought that CRS is the first local authority trading company in Britain to offer this specific type of service. It is also Lambeth Council’s first ‘spin out’ trading company.

Martin Fone, representing the CRS board, said: “Community Risk Services has been set up to help community groups understand the value of assessing the risks they face and devise measures to manage and respond to them; that includes getting the right insurance cover. In designing the services we deliver, we have consulted widely with community groups to understand what they want and need from a provider like us, and that insight means our offer to them is appropriate and comprehensive. In addition, CRS will demonstrate its commitment to the community by re-investing a share of its profit into community projects. As a board, we are very pleased that CRS has now launched and will work hard to make it successful.”

Cllr Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Investment, said:  “Our expert risk and insurance team at Lambeth are well placed to help community groups understand the risks and issues they face.  Through this company, we can put in place the right plans to manage those risks, and make the process of buying insurance as easy and as cost effective as possible. The income that this company generates will be reinvested by Lambeth Council into key services and community projects. There are clearly many benefits to this project and following a lot of hard work to get it to the marketplace, we are delighted it is up and running.”

Mark Nicolson is Head of Risk and Insurance for Lambeth Council, and has worked with his team to set up CRS. He said:  “Our aim is to make the process of understanding and managing risk as simple as possible. We know that when you are busy delivering services to the community, tasks like assessing risk and organising insurance can be an additional burden. We will help community groups understand what they need to do and have in place so they are protected.”

CRS will provide a range of risk management services and advice directly to its customers and will act as an Introducer Appointed Representative of Access Underwriting Limited (FRN 300421) who will administer the insurance services.  Access Underwriting Ltd have been selected following a competitive procurement process.

To find out more about CRS, visit www.communityriskservices.com or call 020 7926 9305.

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