Talking Point


For the last few months, I have been volunteering some of my time, along with Dan Gerrella and Claire Spencer, consultant to the CPNI to write new guidance for communications professionals, published today by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and supported by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Yes, we had meetings with M15; but the most important people who contributed to this guidance are those communications professionals who have been through the horror of dealing with a terror related incident. I dedicate this work to them.

The human aspect of dealing with a crisis has long been of interest to me. I have, in my professional life, dealt with a murder, a long running independent inquiry and other issues that are still too difficult to talk about. I was proud to write about the importance of getting support for yourself and for your team. It is never too soon, or too late to ask for help. Communicators are often the first to receive information and we have to turn it around and deal with it quickly, it can take its toll.

A terror incident, brings with it extra challenges. In the guidance we draw on the interviews undertaken by a research agency, Agfora.

” Agfora interviewed 30 comms professionals in high risk businesses; 13 had been directly involved in a major crisis. Although generally well prepared, they readily admit they could always do more. The assumption is that a terror related crisis should be treated like any other, but the research shows there are clear differences and demand for specific guidance. Participants shared their experiences with us, the lessons they learned and tips for fellow colleagues who might one day face such an incident, ” Sally Alsop, MD of Agfora.

I hope the guidance really does help. Dan and I are going to be doing a webinar, a few talks and panel discussions and we would welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Today, I am very proud to be a professional communicator and a volunteer with the CIPR.

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