Risk management

Risk management is serious! It is about the safety of your club and the community. It is important that your club as a whole takes risk management seriously.

Risk management is an important component of managing the resources of a club. It helps your club to protect its finances, physical assets and human resources, as well as members of the public.

Important risk management actions which will help to protect your club resources include:

  • Allocate responsibility – designate a person to oversee the development of a risk management framework to work with club officials and members to ensure risk management activities are carried out
  • Develop a risk management plan which identifies potential risks and strategies to manage these risks
  • Conduct ongoing risk assessment and mitigation procedures in accordance with the risk management plan to ensure that club activities, practices, facilities and equipment do not harm the club or community resources
  • Evaluate and review your risks and risk management regularly.

Developing a framework for managing risk in your club is likely to be time consuming in the first instance, but it is important that the time is invested at the outset to develop risk management procedures which minimise risk to both your club and the community. This initial investment in time will mean ongoing risk management activities will be less time-intensive and will more likely be successful.

Simple ‘tick and flick-style’ tools for day-to-day risk assessments, such as game-day ground checks or open days, can be used to simplify these processes.

Clubs with Silver level Go Clubs accreditation have access to risk management checklists and Gold level Go Clubs to a risk management plan template.

Work, health and safety

Work, health and safety (WHS) is everyone’s responsibility. Clubs have legal requirements under occupational health and safety laws. These may be relevant whether you employ paid workers or not.

To meet these legal requirements, it is important for clubs to observe the relevant occupational, health and safety requirements in accordance with the Act (Work Health and Safety Act 2011 ). This would include ensuring that volunteers have the necessary training for the tasks that they are asked to perform, as well as the club ensuring that all reasonable steps are taken to minimise the risk of injury or incident.

If your club employs paid workers, under the legislation, all of the club’s workers are referred to as PCBU or a ‘persons conducting business or undertaking’. This could include people working:

  • Casually
  • Part time
  • Full time
  • On a permanent basis
  • As volunteers

Under the Act, your club has responsibilities and a duty of care to its workers, whether paid or voluntary, to protect the health and safety of the people conducting activities within the club.

If your club does not employ any paid workers (that is, you only have volunteers), then your club is classified as a volunteer association (incorporated or unincorporated). Although the Act does not apply to not for profit organisations that are volunteer associations, you should still maintain a work environment and work practices that protect the health and safety of your workers.


Insurance is an essential component of risk management and can help to protect your people and property. The types of insurance most commonly applicable to clubs in Australia are:

  • Public and products liability insurance – necessary for an organisation to protect itself against claims of negligence made by third parties in relation to injury or property damage arising from the club’s operations
  • Property insurance – like household property insurance, this covers a club’s physical contents against fire, storm damage, accidental damage or theft
  • Building insurance – covers your physical premises (e.g. offices, club house) against events such as fire, storms and vandalism. This insurance is generally not required if you do not own the facility (e.g. if you hire the facility or use Council land), because the owner will generally have their own insurance. However, always check your insurance obligations under your lease or hire agreement
  • Fraud insurance – covers your organisation against misappropriation of funds by employees or committee members
  • Personal accident insurance (volunteer insurance) – covers members, volunteers, officials or participants for any out-of-pocket expenses following accidental injury, disability or death while carrying out their work on behalf of your club
  • Professional indemnity insurance – covers individuals against claims for breach of ‘professional duty’ arising out of any negligent act, error or omission committed or alleged to have been committed during the conduct of professional activities
  • Travel insurance – like a personal travel insurance policy, an organisational travel insurance policy covers the organisation against the risks involved in travel, both domestic and international
  • Workers' compensation – a workers' compensation policy is compulsory for organisations that have paid employees. It covers expenses such as wages and medical bills if a person is injured at work.

It is important for you to seek advice and several quotes, making sure you are comparing equivalent products and cover. The cost of the policies may influence the level of cover that is practical for your club. Consider insurance providers that can combine policies for a discounted rate.

When comparing quotes, consider:

  • The limit of cover – how much does the policy cover you for?
  • Excess – is there an excess payable if you make a claim and how much is it?
  • Exclusions – what is not covered by the policy?
  • The geographic scope of the cover – does it cover you and your members/staff/volunteers when they are
    interstate or overseas if required?