16 Dec, 2020
3rd Party Vetting
This informal CPD article 3rd Party Vetting was provided by David Gregory at Xcursion, a risk management training provider focused on school excursion & activity safety.
Today we are going to look at third party providers. Third party providers are some sort of organization that you can contract out a service to for example outdoor education programs, sports and travel. Many schools contract out their camps to third party providers. Many schools contract out their overseas tours to third party providers. However, we really need to be careful when we are looking at a third-party provider because often they can use in their marketing materials, ‘We take care of everything!’
Now if you see something like that, one be really cautious because when they say we take care of everything, they don’t know your students. They don’t know your staff. They don’t know the dynamics that your group brings to that organization. These providers may really understand some of the in-country risks if you’re going overseas or they may understand some local environmental risks. However, you can never be assured that they will cover everything.
Ultimately, you have the primary duty of care for your students and this you cannot contract out. You cannot delegate it to somebody else. You are still ultimately responsible for the health, welfare and wellbeing of your students. So really look at that sort of marketing material with a grain of salt.
I have seen comments on websites saying, ‘oh it was wonderful, they just did everything, they wrote the whole risk assessment for me.’ When I hear that, it makes me nervous and that should make you nervous as well. Because what we want to be doing is looking at how is a third-party provider operating? What are the expectations of communications? What information do they need from you around participants? What are they backup systems and plans? What insurance coverage do they have? What are their communication systems? What skills do they bring to program? Why do you need them to begin with? A whole range of different questions need to be asked when you are looking at any third-party provider. Not just checking that they have insurance. If the only check that you are doing is that they have had insurance and if someone had a nice trip with them. That’s really not quite the level of vetting that you need to be doing.
It’s really important to look at a system to vet each provider and really assess are they a good fit for you? Are they providing services as described and do they have the capacity to respond if something doesn’t go to plan? These are just a few small areas to consider when contracting out a service to a third party.
When you understand these sorts of things around the different providers and what you need from them, you can look more deeply than just those initial marketing messages that they’re using to try and get you in. A few other considerations are to look at how to build that relationship. How to continually review their processes over a longer period of time to ensure that your programs are consistently well run and you can build that culture of risk management within your team as well as with those third party providers.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Xcursion, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.