November 20, 2021
Crisis Management Planning
Author: Ryan Kellen
What is a crisis management plan

A crisis management plan outlines the arrangements that a business has in place to prepare for and respond to crisis situations. Effective crisis management plans define roles, responsibilities and critical actions to minimise the impacts of a crisis situation and support recovery.

What is a crisis

A crisis situation or critical incident, is an event with potential for or actual severe, widespread, or sustained impact on the organisation’s strategic objectives, ability to operate and or reputation.

A crisis situation may:

  • Be a threat to the organisation;
  • Be unexpected or unpredictable;
  • Require decisions to be made in a short time frame; and or
  • Not be solved using standard systems or processes.

Due to the complex and often unpredictable nature of a crises, it is difficult to define the exact nature of all potential crisis scenarios, as is the case with an emergency situation such as fire, flood or building collapse.

Crisis characteristics

One or more of the following characteristics may be present and will assist as prompters in identifying a crisis situation, including but not limiting:

  • The situation is unique, rare, unforeseen, and creating a unique challenge in managing;
  • The situation is sudden or emerging as the result of an incident that has escalated;
  • The situation is high pressure and requiring an urgent response;
  • The response may need to run over a long period of time to minimise the damage to the business;
  • The situation requires strategic thinking and intervention and may have a wider impact (geographically, organisationally);
  • The situation has led to significant public and media interest and/or has the potential for events to be inaccurately reported, particularly with the use of social media; and or
  • Pre-defined practices are not sufficient to respond and do not offer enough flexibility or creativity for the situation.

Objectives of a crisis management plan

The key objectives of a crisis management plan are to:

  • Outline the agreed process for identifying a crisis and activating the crisis management arrangements;
  • Identify and establish the organisational priorities which underpin the response to a crisis situation;\
  • Identify relevant personnel, stakeholders and interested parties, and the roles and responsibilities for crisis management;
  • Identify and manage the resources required to plan, respond and recover from a crisis;
  • Protect the organisations people, operating environment, assets, reputation and risk of liability;
  • Recover the organisation from a crisis situation and minimise the negative impacts of the crisis on the immediate and long term future; and
  • Meet the organisations legal and moral responsibilities.

Crisis preparedness and testing the plan

One of the most important steps in building capacity and establishing a state of readiness to respond to a crisis situation is regularly reviewing and testing the crisis management plan.

A clear schedule should be establishing for:

  • Reviewing risk exposures and vulnerabilities;
  • Training key stakeholders on their roles, responsibilities and using the plan;
  • Testing the plan through scenario testing, crisis simulations and desktop exercises;
  • Updating and improving the plan based on outcomes of risk assessments and testing; and
  • Consulting with internal and external stakeholders and experts to continuously improve.

Need a ready to use crisis management plan to get you started

We have developed a ready to use and modifiable crisis management plan that can get you started on your crisis management preparedness journey, see the following link

About Simplify Systems

Simplify Systems is your virtual partner in risk, safety and compliance. Our online platform provides you with access to cost effective and ready to use policies, procedures, plans and templates. Visit our website to find out more and browse our products