Risk

We have examined the major risks to which the charity is exposed and review them at each Board meeting. Systems and procedures have been put in place to manage those risks.

The Risk Register is maintained by the Chief Executive and Treasurer, under the supervision of the Board. Below is an overview of the major financial and operational risks we were facing at the end of the year.

Risk Explanation Level Management
Loss of senior management As a small organisation, the work of SURF is very much dependent on a small number of key staff – in particular David Russell as Chief Executive in the UK, and Gabo Wilson as National Coordinator in Rwanda. A succession plan is required to ensure that a smooth handover is made as and when the time arises that David moves on from SURF. High Due to the problems of recruiting a successor to Mary (SURF’s Founder/Director) in 2008, work is required to ensure that a strong succession plan is in place when the time comes to replace David. Gabo has no plans to leave his position in Rwanda.
Lack of core funding Much of our funding is restricted to use for specific programmes, and thus it continues to be difficult to meet the costs of running the organisation – in particular staff salaries (over 50% of our running costs). Medium Work continues to streamline the operation (and thus core costs) of SURF further – as well as securing unrestricted funding too.
Non-renewal of support from Comic Relief (CR) SURF has historically been heavily dependent on funding from CR. The current grant runs for two years until September 2012, after which time there is no guarantee that there will be further funding available from the donor. Medium Discussion on future engagement planned in 2012. This will determine a possible application for a new programme with AERG, and terms of reference for an evaluation of our current grant in the summer of 2012.
Loss of a principal funder SURF was heavily dependent on a small number of large institutional donors, in particular the Charities Advisory Trust and the Sigrid Rausing Trust. Loss of funding from either of them would result in challenges in funding core costs of SURF. Medium It is expected that Sigrid Rausing Trust will end its funding in March 2013. However, new grants from DFID and possibly the BIG Lottery Fund will enable SURF to cover core costs in both UK and Rwanda previously funded by SRT.
DFID GPAF grant The new project with DFID is due to commence on 1st April. This will demand a more rigorous process of management and reporting than compared to any other grant that SURF receives. It is critical that SURF effectively manages the grant to meet DFID requirements to sustain funding. Medium Work has been undertaken to ensure that systems have been strengthened to address issues raised in the DFID pre-grant due diligence assessment report. Further work is required to ensure that the set-up of the grant is effectively managed to ensure risks are mitigated.