School of Management

The Centre for Public Services Organisations

“Risk management and regulatory agencies: demonstrating performance as a dimension of public organisations”

Dr David Demortain, London School of Economics and Political Science


The presentation seeks to analyse the rise of the risk management fashion by looking at its relevance and effect on the management of regulatory agencies. Food and medicines agencies were created with a view to assess risks to health of food and medicinal products, a mission which was delegated to them by governments following looming regulatory crises or outright public disasters. Over time, the emphasis has shifted from the assessment of risks – a technical realm – to the inclusion of risk assessment within broader frameworks of risk management. The apparition of such “risk management” frameworks results from an attempt to make internal processes and performance more responsive to external constrains (governmental control, public blame, demands from consumer groups and patient organisations, etc.). It marks the receding of some of the attributes that specifically define public organisations, such as the exposure to governmental control and the lack of performance evaluation. The presentation will be based on recently conducted empirical research as well as the growing body of literature on risk management in public organisations.

David Demortain is ESRC research officer at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science. He was awarded a PhD in political science from Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. His research concerns the sociology of power and expert knowledge, with a particular focus on the regulation of health risks, in a comparative and international perspective.

Time and Location

Date: 5th March 2008

Venue: MX01, Moore Annexe