Composition of Crisis Response Teams



Add a note hereThe composition of the crisis and incident response teams should reflect the personnel required to analyze and deal with any events, from the management or command elements to specialist advisers. Hierarchy and politics should not be an aspect of management selection; rather, responsibilities should be attributed based on competence, knowledge, and experience. The role of the crisis or incident management team is to be in a position to respond effectively to postulated threats or actual events in a timely manner, implementing and adjusting where necessary predefined response policies and plans.

Add a note hereTop management commitment is critical for the success of this team; the outcome of a crisis not only affects business success and corporate interests, but perhaps more importantly can impact the lives and the jobs of employees—people who are reliant on the skills of management to see them, and at times their families, through a crisis event. The various levels of CRTs and IRTs will flow information and recommendations up to the corporate management or executive board while having autonomy of decision making within certain agreed and defined parameters. The level of decision making, responsibility, and authority will vary from corporate down to project teams, as well as down to the event IRT. As much responsibility as possible and appropriate should be forced downward to enable local managers to be empowered to contribute to the management and control of emergencies—while still being answerable to corporate management. The IMP provides a guideline for all levels of management, supported by more focused and comprehensive plans for singular, complex, and highimpact events. When considering a generic crisis response organization, however, the following appointments or groups may form components of a crisis and incident management structure for the company:

§  Add a note hereCrisis management team commander
§  Add a note hereCrisis team coordinator
§  Add a note herePhysical and risk security manager
§  Add a note hereTechnical security manager
§  Add a note hereSpecial response team leader
§  Add a note hereAdministration manager
§  Add a note hereIntelligence or information officer
§  Add a note hereLiaison officer
§  Add a note hereCommunications manager
§  Add a note herePublic relations officer
§  Add a note hereLegal counsel
§  Add a note hereHuman resources department
§  Add a note hereHealth and safety department
§  Add a note hereStress trauma adviser
§  Add a note hereReception team manager
§  Add a note hereFinance officer
§  Add a note hereInvestor relations officer

Add a note hereInvariably a host of supporting staff will accompany this core group in support of implementing plans, requirements, and activities. Some elements will be provided inhouse, while others may be outsourced. The composition of a CRT should reflect the crisis event and the impacts it might have on individuals experiencing the risk, as well as the implications it might have on the company. Exhibit 1 illustrates possible group compositions.


Add a note hereExhibit 3.6: Crisis and Incident Response Structures
Add a note hereEach company or group should define the nature, scope, and parameters of the roles and responsibilities within its response organization, driven by business as well as operational needs. The titling of each appointment may be adjusted to reflect the image, nature, and ethos of the company, as well as the status of those holding the appointments. Some companies will soften titles in order to reflect the ethos and branding of the group, while others will choose more militaristic titles to define the roles and responsibilities of the appointments. The following sections capture some concepts as to the nature of crisis management team responsibilities.

Add a note hereCrisis Management Team Commander

Add a note hereThe chair of the crisis response group, or crisis management team commander (CMTC), will oversee the development and implementation of the company's Business Continuity Management Plan, as well as its separate components, including the IMP. The CMTC will also be responsible for ensuring that plans are distributed and that appropriate levels of education, training, evaluation, and rehearsals are conducted prior to a crisis event occurring. The CMTC will be responsible to the chief executive officer (CEO) in all matters related to preparing for and dealing with a crisis situation.

Add a note hereThe CMTC typically makes executive decisions based on the advice and information provided from relevant subject matter experts, both within the company crisis response group and supporting company departments, as well as from external advisory agencies. CMTCs should be selected for their ability to make calm and analytical decisions under highstress conditions, based on the company's ethos and corporate objectives, and balancing these with a clear understanding of the wider issues.

Add a note hereThe CMTC should be able to conduct concurrent activities and absorb and respond to information in a dynamic, logical, and pragmatic manner. Following an incident, the CMTC should oversee the conduct of a comprehensive review of all policies and measures in order to update the risk management program. The CMTC should be supported by a second in command who takes over in the CMTC's absence and provides support and advice during intensive incidents. This post may be held by, or report directly to, the CEO and board officers of a company.

Add a note hereCrisis Team Coordinator

Add a note hereThe crisis team coordinator (CTC) supports the functional activities of the CMTC and will conduct quality assurance checks on policies, plans, and procedures on a scheduled basis, or following a crisis event. The coordinator will also ensure that the plan has been distributed and disseminated appropriately, particularly for oversees or highrisk operations. Accountable for scheduling and evidencing training and testing of the plan, the coordinator will also prepare the Crisis Control Center or Tactical Operations Center for use.

Add a note hereThe CTC may also monitor political and security risks as they affect the company and its business activities, tracking risks and alerting management to possible threats. The appointment may also ensure that coordination and arrangements are established with supporting groups, especially if response plans are to be amalgamated or used in tandem. This appointment might be held by the chief security officer or the CSO's deputy.

Add a note herePhysical and Risk Security Manager

Add a note hereThe physical and risk security manager is responsible for risk management advice as well as physical security measures and the management of security personnel and resources. This manager is typically the chief security officer (CSO) of a company and will provide both strategic and tactical advice and guidance to the CMTC, if the security manager is not undertaking that appointment himself or herself.

Add a note hereThis appointment will implement response plans and provide guidance to supporting groups in terms of practical requirements and activities. The security manager might also instigate emergency response groups to bring control to the situation, or implement risk countermeasures. This appointment will typically entrust the practical command of response teams to welltrained and experienced subcommanders, who will deal firsthand with any incidents from the incident control point. This post looks at both strategic and tactical impacts and ramifications, and advises the CMTC directly to ensure that best courses of action and decision making are possible.

Add a note hereTechnical Security Manager

Add a note hereThe technical security manager is responsible for the technical aspects of security, providing specialist advice and guidance on technology systems that might be used as part of the contingency plan and crisis management response procedures. Typically, the technology security manager reports to the physical and risk security manager (i.e., CSO) in order to most effectively utilize any technical assets available to mitigate risks or gather and collate information required for decision making.

Add a note hereThe technical security manager for technologyrelated crisis events (i.e., cyber security risks) may take precedence and directly advise the CMTC. The technical security manager should be supported by specialist personnel who will oversee and utilize a range of information technology and security technology equipment.

Add a note hereSpecial Response Team Leader

Add a note hereThe special response team (SRT) can provide companies with invaluable assistance in supporting the establishment of an immediate management focal point at the beginning of a crisis situation, managing emergency requirements on behalf of the company, advising local managers on response protocols and decisionmaking requirements, and ensuring that accurate information and support requests are channeled quickly and effectively back to corporate offices. SRTs should be engineered to assist in bringing swift resolutions to issues, regardless of the geographic region or operating conditions. They should be proven problem solvers, capable of dealing with a raft of issues and challenges in a focused and clinical manner, and leveraging all available local resources to support problem rectifications. SRTs may be used domestically or for foreign business activities. Under some circumstances, the SRT may assume control of a situation, reporting directly to the CMTC.

Add a note hereThe SRT should provide highgrade management support, as well as proven operational and tactical services. The team should be positioned to assess the holistic problems facing a project, and quickly design effective and innovative mitigation and recovery measures. The SRT team leader will often be an expert in the field and as such undertakes roles clearly defined by the company, especially if SRT team services are outsourced by the company. A variety of services may be offered, including:

Add a note hereOperational management
Add a note hereMedical care and repatriations
Add a note hereIntelligence gathering
Add a note hereHealth and safety
Add a note hereCommunications and information technology
Add a note hereStress trauma services
Add a note hereLegal services
Add a note hereRisk and security evaluations
Add a note herePublic relations services
Add a note hereSecurity provisions
Add a note hereInvestigations
Add a note hereStructural damage control
Add a note hereLiaison and mediation
Add a note hereWorkplace violence
Add a note hereIndustry expertise
Add a note hereKidnapping and ransom situations
Add a note hereEvacuation management


Add a note hereAdministration Manager

Add a note hereAll events require the accurate collation and documentation of information as well as the practical mobilization of resources and support to deal with a crisis event. The administration manager may be tasked with providing document control, gathering facts and details of those involved in the event, booking flights, allocating and making available monies to procure resources (through the finance officer), identifying internal and external resource providers, plus a myriad of other mundane but essential tasks.

Add a note hereThe administration manager is responsible for taking action on the logistical and procurement aspects of a crisis response, allowing other participants to focus on strategic or tactical activities that will rely on adequate administrative support. The administration manager may have responsibility for resource and procurement plans, although guided by the crisis response tacticians as to what might be required in terms of resources and scheduling in order to meet each unique crisis event.

Add a note hereIntelligence or Information Officer

Add a note hereThe intelligence or information officer acts as the central point for all intelligence data, compiling information into an easily usable medium. This person should provide advice and guidance in order to ensure that decisions are based on accurate and uptodate information. This person should liaise with other intelligence or information agencies to provide mutual support, including government, military, or commercial agencies. The intelligence or information officer should be supported with an intelligence department or outsourced support (where appropriate) providing all necessary task and administrative assistance.

Add a note hereThe intelligence or information officer provides the tools for effective decision making and risk evaluations. Typically, the intelligence or information officer will report to both the CSO and the CMTC, providing tactical decisionmaking support; forecasting future risks leading onward from the crisis event, as well as their implications for longterm impacts; and supplying information and assessments to support a resumption of operations.

Add a note hereLiaison Officer

Add a note hereThe liaison officer (LO) is responsible for interfacing with any external agencies needed to support the immediate response to an incident, as well as sustained support for longterm crisis events. The LO may identify any external assistance required, including embassies, military forces, militias, tribal groups, and other government offices. The LO will typically act on behalf of the CMTC providing an initial notification of support required to these groups, and reporting their readiness to the CMTC. The IMP or other crisis response plans may define the actions taken by the liaison officer under certain crisis situations to make sure that support is quickly leveraged and that activities are conducted quickly and effectively.

Add a note hereThe LO will act as the intermediary between external support or advisory agencies and the CMTC during and after the incident, depending on its severity and nature. The liaison officer should also work closely with the physical and risk security manager to ensure that coordination of measures and advice is achieved. For some organizations this function will be undertaken by the physical and risk security manager as a concurrent duty. The LO is typically familiar with the operating area and is attuned to the local conditions, as well as providing an established network of local relationships that can be exploited to support company interests.

Add a note hereCommunications Manager

Add a note hereThe communications manager is responsible for identifying the availability and reliability of multiple communication mediums within all business operating regions, and identifying shortfalls and gaps that might undermine crisis response requirements. The communications manager is also responsible for ensuring that communication mediums are compatible with supporting agencies, enabling interorganizational operability.
Add a note hereThe communications manager is responsible for ensuring the accurate and timely delivery of information to relevant personnel. This manager acts as the focal point for all incoming and outgoing information, assisted by a communications department that will manage communications infrastructure equipment. It is the communications manager's role to ensure that multiple levels of communication are available to support the crisis response measures, and that a full and accurate list of points of contact is available both internally and externally for use during the crisis event, as well as for any subsequent audits or investigations. The communications manager will retain a log of communications traffic during the incident in order to provide immediate and accurate updates, as well as an auditable trail of actions and information for postincident audits or investigations.

Add a note herePublic Relations Officer

Add a note hereThe public relations officer should track business activities that might result in a public relations or crisis communications event, as well as monitor media capabilities and resources in those countries where the company has the highest public exposure. The company should preidentify a spokesperson to deal with verbal and written media requirements and determine whether a spokesperson may be required also at the site of the crisis event.

Add a note hereThe public relations officer will typically brief the CMTC and CEO on the requirement for the company to make public statements, as well as the content and method of delivery. The public relations officer is responsible for controlling the content, timing, and issue of all statements to the media, monitoring media coverage of the incident, and assessing the impacts to the business venture and company as a whole. The public relations officer will also advise the CMTC and CEO as to hostile and friendly media organizations and individual reporters, as well as controlling access of media groups to employees and their families, especially if injuries, fatalities, or kidnappings have occurred.

Add a note hereWhile not necessarily an integral part of the crisis management team, the public relations officer should be a welltrained intermediary or spokesperson between the organization and the media or civic leaders—providing useful assistance in the positive delivery of information, enhancing the image of the organization externally, as well as contributing indirectly to employee morale. Personnel from within the public relations department may also be involved in dealing with sensitive personal issues (related to employees or their families), as well as issues requiring discretion and compassion when dealing with families and the local community. In addition, they may brief personnel on how to manage media inquiries.

Add a note hereLegal Counsel

Add a note hereCrisis situations may have legal implications or impacts, either directly in terms of the legal ramifications and requirements following the detention of employees by foreign governments, or indirectly in terms of liability risks following investigations or claims made against the company for negligence or damages. Legal counsel may be necessary to evaluate and mitigate the possible implications of a crisis event and the liability exposure the company faces. The legal counsel will guide the CEO and CMTC as to the ramifications of an incident, assisting management teams in identifying the best courses of action to mitigate these risks. Within new or difficult operating environments, the legal counsel may be tasked with identifying host nation legal resources (in advance of an incident) that might be of assistance to the company in the event of a crisis, as well as liaising with appropriate embassy officials as required. An aspect of contingency planning, and indeed in certain circumstances incident management, a local law firm may be retained to represent the company, being more familiar with local laws and the nuances of the host nation's legal system.

Add a note hereThe legal counsel may be responsible for reviewing public announcements in terms of liability risks to the company or its officers. They should also advise on the legal aspects of negotiations, payment of ransoms or protection money, and the passage of information to law enforcement agencies in the country involved with a crisis. The legal counsel may determine legal responsibilities to victims and their families, including the payment of any compensations or insurance policies. They should advise crisis managers on report content in order to safeguard both the company and its employees. The legal counsel may advise the CEO and CMTC as to the structure, content, and access restrictions of reports and other information, especially if sensitive or inflammatory in nature.

Add a note hereHuman Resources Department

Add a note hereThe human resources department will be responsible for the accounting of all personnel within or adjoining a crisis situation, ensuring that accurate records of who is involved within the crisis, as well as their next of kin details, are properly managed. They will retain rosters of the whereabouts of personnel, especially during evacuation scenarios—advising the CMTC so that a full and accurate head count can be conducted and sustained. This is especially important for remote or highrisk locations where the threat of losing accountability of personnel can be significant and catastrophic. They will establish systems that track and manage the movement of personnel, working with operational managers for the conduct of routine travel within a project area.

Add a note hereThe human resources department may be tasked with providing regular briefings to families of employees affected by a crisis, ensuring that regular meetings are conducted to keep them abreast of the situation. The department may also arrange for providing support, whether monetary, advisory, or compassionate, for families or victims. They may also support the CMTC and CEO in monitoring the morale and welfare of employees, and gathering personal details from the IRTs on injuries and fatalities, as well as missing persons.

Add a note hereHealth and Safety Department

Add a note hereThe health and safety department will play a key role regarding risks that might result from industrial accidents, whether causing the crisis event or occurring as a result of the initial incident. In addition, health, hygiene, and other aspects more relevant to health and safety will be important considerations in terms of the holistic approach to risk management during a crisis event, especially in natural disasters or pandemics. Primacy of roles in terms of security, health, and safety should be considered based on the nature and impact of the threats faced during a crisis. Consequently, primacy of leadership may change depending on the nature of the incident; for one form of crisis the health and safety officer may report to the security adviser, whereas for another the situation may be reversed. The CMTC may also have each report independently, depending on circumstances, to enable both perspectives to be accurately represented.

Add a note hereStress Trauma Adviser

Add a note hereCrisis situations, whatever their nature, have the potential to cause psychological damage to those directly and indirectly involved in the event. Often even those on the periphery of an event are affected. It may be advisable for companies to consider including a stress trauma adviser as part of the crisis management team, whether recruited from internal resources or through outsourced support. Stress trauma advisers can provide specialist advice and guidance on how to prevent emotional contagion, provide critical stress debriefings or crisis intervention group sessions, and minimize court settlements for emotional damage claims.
Add a note hereThis post should work closely with the legal counsel and public relations officer, and report directly to the CMTC. Companies should also consider that whereas many stress trauma measures are well intentioned, research into the Lockerbie bombing (1988 terrorist aircraft attack resulting in the deaths of several hundred passengers) and the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster (1987 British ferry capsizing that resulted in the drowning of almost two hundred passengers) has failed to empirically determine whether these measures caused more good than harm. A careful balance between offering meaningful support to employees and their families and exacerbating the problem further should be carefully considered. Only those qualified and sanctioned by the company should provide stress trauma support.

Add a note hereReception Team Manager

Add a note hereThe requirement to evacuate personnel and materials from project sites to a safe location within a country—or in the most extreme cases evacuating all personnel and highvalue assets under emergency conditions from a country—will require personnel to operationally and administratively manage the movement of people and resources from their work sites to reception centers and evacuation points. If a crisis situation warrants a local or national evacuation, the crisis team may need to create a subgroup: the corporate advance and reception team (CART). This team should be prepared and equipped ready for dispatch to a region, nation, or bordering country to support the safe and controlled evacuation of company personnel and assets from the crisis event. The CART may be considered a special advance response team in that it deploys to assist local managers in dealing with a crisis.

Add a note hereThe CART lays the groundwork for evacuation and relocation activities. It may be designed to meet either natural disaster risks or manmade crisis threats. Typically, it consists of a senior company representative and support and administrative staff, although for manmade crises a security component may be added. Operating under a reception team manager, its function is to manage the reception of evacuees at a regional safe haven, and where necessary support the evacuation by air, land, or maritime means to a final safe location. A chain of reception centers may be established to ferry personnel and assets from the point or area of risk. The team's tasks include the booking of hotels, transportation, and followon flights; providing a focal point for liaison with external organizations; dealing with medical care and emergencies; procuring and preparing offices for the continuation of business; media management; accounting for all personnel and their status; and reporting to corporatelevel management on the general situation. Security components may also be required to protect reception centers and evacuation points if the area is susceptible to physical risks.

Add a note hereFinance Officer

Add a note hereIn the event of a crisis, money may be required to lease or procure services and resources. The finance officer is responsible for ensuring that appropriate funds are available to meet urgent crisis requirements and that procurements can be authorized quickly and effectively to support effective incident and crisis response measures. The finance officer may sanction aspects of a procurement or resource plan, or may approve new procurement requirements driven by unique crisis needs.

Add a note hereThe finance officer may also be required to prepare plans for obtaining any ransom money in the denomination required during kidnapping and ransom situations, advising the CMTC on relevant currency or exchange regulations; identifying sources for the covert collection, transportation, and storage of cash; as well as to arrange for the recording of the serial numbers of banknotes for a kidnapping or extortion incident. The finance officer may also sanction leasing aviation assets for evaluations, procuring medical or security services to deal with casualties, or procuring resources or services to enhance facility security resources, or manage other crisis costs.

Add a note hereUnder all circumstances, the financial officer must maintain oversight over company fiscal arrangements, authorizing funds expended in the course of any crisis events. The financial officer will be required to establish the procedures used in accounting for money and in protecting information relating to its intended use. The financial officer should also be available for postincident reviews to provide an expense history related to the affected operations, as well as the forecasted implication in expenditure and incurred costs associated with a crisis response.

Add a note hereInvestor Relations Officer

Add a note hereThe company may appoint an investor relations officer to ensure that the company's investment interests are protected during a reputational crisis event. The company's value in the marketplace in general, as well as with shareholders and investors, may be damaged during a crisis event, and the company should seek to mitigate those risks by providing briefings, advisories, and forums in which confidence can be regained and sustained. The investor relations officer can also advise the CEO as to any subsequent crises that might befall a company in terms of public confidence and fiscal issues, as share values are often undermined by crisis events.

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