New crisis preparation guidance

A business crisis can take many forms: natural disaster, environmental accident, cyber-attack, social unrest or employee accident; each of which has different consequences. The key to minimising risk to businesses from crises is to be prepared, which is where new guidance from the British Standards Institute (BSI) (the BS 11200 Standard for Crisis Management) will come in.

Background to BS 11200

The upcoming publication of BS 11200 is not the first guidance within the crisis management sphere. In 2011, the BSI sponsored by the Cabinet Office introduced PAS 200:2011. PAS 200:2011 was complimentary to other guidance available, such as business continuity management and information security management.

A ‘PAS’ is a publicly available specification that is developed by the BSI to address an urgent market need. The need for PAS 200:2001 was underlined by events, including the riots of summer 2011 and the then impending 2012 London Olympics, which caused much business upheaval.

The guidance was aimed at assisting businesses to deal with crises. In particular, the guidance focused on:

  • Understanding crises
  • Evaluating and Developing a crisis management capability
  • Planning and preparing for crisis response and recovery
  • Communicating in a crisis.

New standard

In June 2014, the BSI will introduce new guidance on crisis management, BS 11200 Standard for Crisis Management. Given that the concept of ‘crisis management’ is very broad and encapsulates many challenges that businesses may face, the Standard is published as guidance, rather than a specification.

BS 11200 builds on, and supersedes, PAS 200:2011 and is intended to be used by organisations of all types and sizes, and regardless of sector or industry. The ultimate aim of the guidance is to equip senior management with the knowledge to develop a crisis management capability, including providing information on:

  • Crisis leadership
  • Communication in a crisis
  • Strategic decision making in a crisis
  • Training for a crisis
  • Learning from a crisis.

The guidance will provide useful signposts to organisations for assessing and putting together their crisis management capability. However, the interpretation and implementation of the guidance will vary from business to businesses.

BS 11200 will also be a great impetus to revisit any crisis management plans and procedures already in place to ensure they are up-to-date and offer sufficient protection.

Any business can be affected be affected by a crisis but the businesses able to successfully navigate a crisis are those that are prepared. 

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.