WALK - Managing risks to improve the lives of people with disabilities

            WALK is using K2 to manage risks and improve the lives of disabled people


A charity in Ireland is supporting people with disabilities to lead more independent, self-determined lives through the use of a new K2-based risk management process. The organization can now create more standardized risk assessments, update them regularly and share them easily to protect and empower vulnerable adults.


Following several years of growth, WALK was working with a larger number of people with disabilities, across a wider geographic area in Ireland. It therefore needed to produce, share and update a far larger number of personal risk assessments for the vulnerable adults it supported.

These personal risk assessments, together with person-centered plans, are vitally important documents that enable the charity to put positive measures in place to help people with disabilities become as independent as possible. “Risk assessments have historically been used to stop people from doing things,” says Sandy Brain, Quality Coordinator at WALK. “In contrast, WALK uses risk assessments to help people with disabilities to do the things they want to do, in a safe way.”

Initially, the charity selected a pre-built risk management solution, but this approach wasn’t a success. “After a few months, we resigned ourselves to the fact that this off-the-shelf product didn’t meet our needs,” Brain explains. “It didn’t deliver all the functionality we required and didn’t have the flexibility to adapt to changes in our organizational structure.”


After a few weeks of contemplation about whether to test another off-the-shelf package or hire a developer to create a bespoke solution, WALK discovered K2. The charity evaluated the K2 Cloud solution thoroughly and undertook comparative tests against two other similar solutions. “We selected K2 because it had an intuitive user interface and could do everything that we needed it to do, at an affordable price,” Brain recalls. “I’m quite a visual thinker. K2 shows workflows in a graphical way and has a logical process, which made sense to me.”

With some guidance from a K2 partner, WALK used K2 Cloud to set up an end-to-end process for creating, sharing and updating personal risk assessments. Through the development of this K2-based workflow, the organization was able to standardize the format of its personal risk assessments and ensure that confidential personal information was only accessible to approved teams. WALK was also able to extend the scope of the risk management system to include not only personal risk assessments, but also corporate risk assessments, such as those relating to the governance of the charity and financial management.

The K2 risk management process is now playing a key role in helping WALK to achieve its mission of empowering people with disabilities. Employees can create new personal risk assessments quickly and easily, guided by K2, and they receive automated emails reminding them when the risk assessments are due for review. As a result, personal risk assessments are more up-to-date and more reflective of the needs of the individual at the current time. So, as Brain says, “Through the use of K2 Cloud, WALK can help people with disabilities to take independent steps more quickly and achieve their personal goals faster.”

In addition, the K2 risk management process is helping WALK to improve the safety of vulnerable adults it supports, by making personal and corporate risk assessments more up-to-date and easily accessible to managers. For example, the Director of Residential Services can see all risks across fourteen residential homes, color-coded with red being the most serious. He can then make faster, better-informed decisions to improve the quality of life for people supported by the charity.

Likewise, WALK’s directors can better manage corporate and governance risks to ensure the sustainability of the organization. The charity’s risk sub-committee can easily see ‘red risks’, highlight those risks that it would like to review at the next board meeting and send the relevant reports electronically to all board members using the K2 process.

Following the success of the K2 risk management process, WALK has developed additional K2-based workflows, including one for handling maintenance requests. This new workflow is saving a significant amount of time, as the maintenance manager no longer has to manually create lists of maintenance tasks and produce weekly and monthly reports. Instead, he now receives notifications of maintenance requests straight away on his tablet and can quickly prioritize tasks. Reports on outstanding and completed maintenance tasks are visible to his line manager on demand via K2, so he spends less time on administration and more time maintaining a high quality environment for the people WALK supports.