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Difference between Risks and Issues

As we mentioned at the beginning of the tutorial, in simple terms, a risk is anything that might arise that will stop us from achieving something.

Image depicting Risk - Issue

So, what if this potential threat becomes an active problem requiring to be dealt with now. Is it still a risk?

Well, if this risk has not been managed properly or nothing could have been done to stop it and it has impacted the Council, it is now an issue.

The best way to remember the difference is that:

  • Risks MAY occur and you can put controls in to stop it happening
  • Issues HAVE occurred and can't be stopped so decisions must be made.

Another working definition that has been mentioned recently is "if you can smell it, it's a risk. If you're in it, it's an issue" Think about it!!

Anyway, here's a little test to ensure you understand the difference. Pen and paper ready!

Read the following 9 statements and decide if they are risks or issues!

  1. Part of the funding had to be withdrawn from the Project today;
  2. Insufficient resources available to undertake office tasks;
  3. There is a danger that the IT system will not be implemented on time;
  4. If the tender comes in over price, the Project may have to be reviewed;
  5. Weather forecast next week is likely to affect the grass cutting;
  6. The Directors secretary has left the Council. She needs to be replaced;
  7. The Contractors have not turned up for work for the past three days;
  8. If in-house IT services are outsourced, there could be possible strikes;
  9. The Team Leader has lost the trust of his Head of Service.

Just in case you are struggling, here's one answer for you! When you've finished, click the arrow to get all the answers. Hope you are making an effort to join in!!

1. It's an Issue.

Image depicting Move On
Image depicting Risk Management Montage

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