In the case of IT systems undergoing technical difficulties, the London Ambulance Service has set an example of sorts to the IT world in its own risk management agenda. The London Ambulance Service employed a computer aided dispatch system to help in the dispatch and retrieval operations of patients. The public was made aware of the new system designed to overcome organizational delays through a sophisticated technology that could cut operational costs and improve efficiency.
By late 1992, “reports on national television announced the breakdown of a command and control system operated by the London Ambulance System that resulted to the late or non-arrival of emergency ambulance vehicles” (Andriessen and Koopman, p. 378). In a post-mortem evaluation of the disaster, it was revealed that the system “was incapable of handling the volume of traffic” during peak levels of operations (Andriessen and Koopman, p.
379). A closer inspection also revealed that the system was inadequate to handle an influx and personnel were improperly trained along with an absence of project management in cases of system failure. Another look into the political hemisphere surrounding the organization also revealed that the considerable changes employed for and in behalf of the London Ambulance Service involved the lack of financial investment despite pressures.
The same funding difficulties were observed in 2000 which resulted to a poor performance record amidst an increasing volume of 999 calls. Technical failures were also blamed for a slow response to emergency calls during the 2005 London bombing along while another system crash in August 2006 manifested the return of age-old principle of pen and paper methods of recording to remedy the problem encountered by the London Ambulance Service.
The summary of identified risks above cannot definitely give justice to the range of problems and failures the institution encountered. Secondary to these points but quite important is the identification that the poorly designed user-interface, lack of enthusiasm, poor performance and bugs in the system contributed to the identified risks of the London Ambulance System. How it relates to IT?
Based on the trust policies of the organization, the principal risks “that may threaten ten achievement of [its] objectives” are to be identified (LAS, 2007). The associated risks are likewise evaluated among with the design of its key controls to manage them. In view of the NHS trust and principal objectives, risks can be controlled at varying levels through a framework that employs an organizational structure which is “monitored and reviewed” (LAS, 2007).
The endorsement of incident reporting and claims/complaints in its procedural guidelines therefore points out the importance of informational technology to exist along its program of delivery in order to inform those in the structure of any foreseen problems that can be easily remedied at a certain level. Potential risks will commonly occur in most social organizations at different levels but in the case of a service-oriented facility, any associated risks are due for periodic review and re-assessment to limit its occurrence.