Crisis Management: An emerging British Standard

Earlier this year the British Standards Institution issued new guidance on the principles and good practice for the provision of a crisis management response. Although it did not articulate anything which was not already known by those practising such measures, they reflect an increasing awareness by those sitting around board tables of the importance of organisational crisis management capabilities.

Crisis management varies from organisation to organisation, sector to sector, however it is recognised that the underlying principles and necessary capabilities remain the same; in that sense the standard is intended for any organisation regardless of location, size, type, industry or sector.

Principles of crisis management

When assessing your own preparations for your intended response to and desired recovery from a crisis, to what extent does your organisation meet the following overarching principles? Will your preparation allow you to:

  • Achieve control as soon as possible.
  • Communicate effectively – both within your organisation and outwards, and with regulators and the public.
  • Establish situational awareness through the management of key information as it evolves.
  • Demonstrate leadership at all levels, facilitating decision by nominated individuals.
  • Ensure that crisis management roles are assigned, supported by the appropriate training and competency.
  • Record all facts, assumption and decisions as they occur.
  • Determine a recovery plan.

Practical steps

The above principles are readily apparent upon any analysis of those most resilient organisations. What the British Standards will be demonstrating is that the principles are easily attainable through building a tailored crisis management capability in proportion to the level of risk.

To support our clients and contacts with building principles and good practice into their own crisis management response, we will focus on one of the following areas of the British Standard, explaining their importance and setting out practical tips for their implementation during the coming editions our monthly Crisis Response legal updates:

  1. The importance of a Crisis Management Plan 
    Setting out the purpose of a response documents, what it should contain and how it can become a go to document in the event of a crisis, particularly in response to a regulatory investigation (January 2015 issue)
  2. Information management and situational awareness 
    Identifying the inevitable uncertainties and, through the deployment of a Crisis Management Team, identifying these so as to protect the organisation (February 2015 issue)
  3. Response
    Coordinating the multiple threads of your organisation’s response (March 2015 issue)
  4. Recovery
    Assessing and managing the long term effects of a crisis. (April 2015 issue)

These standards are applicable to the top management of organisations of any size in the public or private sector, and provide a valuable means by which you can benchmark your crisis management capabilities.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Tristan Meears-White should you wish to consider the application of these standards to your organisation.

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.

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Steffan Groch

Partner and Head of Regulatory - Head of Sectors

I head up DWF's national Regulatory team as well as leading the firm’s ‘go to market’ sector expertise. I am also Chair of the UK Health and Safety Lawyers Association.