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A Collaborative Crisis Management Plan: lessons from the G20 summit



With the G20 Summit recently taking place in Brisbane, all eyes have been on the Queensland Capital. Brisbane, a city that often takes a back seat to the bigger cities of Sydney and Melbourne, has been catapulted to global fame as world leaders including US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and of course, our own Prime Minister Tony Abbott trickle in for the Summit.

Anytime world leaders come together, security and safety is always a key concern. This is especially front of mind due to fears about Australia’s heightened terror threat.

As those of us in Brisbane can attest, there has been a noticeable increase in security in the city, with road closures, increased police presence and even a public holiday for those working in the city. All of these measures have sought to ensure the G20 will run smoothly.

With security for two days totaling $100 million, it seems Australia isn’t cutting any corners when it comes to safety, but there have still been some concerns. It was revealed the other day that US President Barack Obama’s Secret Service team requested to have a roundabout at the University of Queensland destroyed so that the President’s motorcade would not need to slow down.

Though this request was denied, it highlights some of the challenges in hosting an event like this. With 26 world leaders comes 26 security teams that each have their individual concerns and crisis management plans. As host, Australia has had the job of working with each of these groups to ensure safety protocols are met and that each world leader is confident in their safety during their time in Australia.

While most of us will never have to worry about risk mitigation on the scale of the G20, many of us do need to consider how we will work with different stakeholder groupsas part of our crisis management plans. For an airport, this might be considering how and when you might need to work with security, local and Federal Police, airlines and customs officials. For a sporting venue, this might be working with transport organisations, police and the various athletic teams.

Very few organisations can operate independently in a crisis. There are always external stakeholders who have their unique roles and priorities. The challenge for organisations is ensuring that these roles, priorities and concerns are established beforehand so they can be addressed and incorporated into a crisis management plan.

Things can slip through the cracks in a crisis if duties aren’t clear and contingencies aren’t accounted for. What happens if the person meant to perform a certain duty is unavailable? How will you communicate with various stakeholder groups and who will be in charge of ensuring each group has accurate information? Who will liaise with the media, and who will be your spokesperson(s)?

Collaborating with these organisations beforehand is the best way to ensure you have a robust crisis management plan that considers all of the variables and stakeholders involved.

If your crisis management plan doesn’t consider your key stakeholders and how you will all work together, we urge you to take the time to develop this plan. If you’re interested in reviewing or developing your plan, call Briggs Communications to chat about how we can help your organisation better prepare for a crisis.

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