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Education briefing - 5 point plan for effectively managing disruption on campus.

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings


The latest round of industrial action by University lecturers and other members of staff brings back into focus the risk of disruption on campus from students and others who are affected by the strike action.

Disruption on campus can arise and escalate very quickly. In a moment of crisis it can be challenging to understand your options for responding, achieve clarity on the risk implications and maintain robust decision making processes.

So here is a 5 point plan to help you effectively navigate the risks and respond confidently and robustly to the challenges which disruption on campus can pose.

Is there an up to date crisis management plan to deal with any disruption?

Establishing an effective risk management plan for handling any disruption on campus will be critical to its successful resolution.

That plan ought to consider the range of impacts which disruption on campus may be having: to the estate, the University’s reputation and to its staff. Having a plan which addresses each of those strands - premises, reputation and people - will be very important.

Have any lessons learned from last time been captured and incorporated into the plan?

Inevitably time and people move on. Identifying who dealt with similar issues last time could save a lot of time and avoid reinventing the wheel or falling into the same traps. Making sure the corporate knowledge is fully up to date and the people with the right experience are on the team can play a central role in successfully navigating the risks of disruption on campus.

Are the right people on the core team?

Making confident, robust decisions will be a critical part of delivering the crisis management plan quickly and smoothly. It starts with being clear about who will make the initial “quick” risk assessment/decisions. Beyond that the core team will need to establish an agreed approach to decision making and delivery of action plans. The people on the core team will also need to be able to identify any gaps and vulnerabilities so they can be plugged quickly. Similarly what and how decisions should be escalated above and beyond the core team.

Is there are clear plan in place for sharing information more widely?

Often there is a need to ensure that other stakeholders are kept briefed or consulted. What is critical though is for everyone to be very clear about the role they are playing; are they decision makers or are they just being briefed? If they are being kept up to date then it’s important to be transparent about what information can and cannot be shared more widely.

Having a clear plan for internal and external communications will also be critical for effectively managing the reputational risks of any disruption on campus. Who is leading on the plan; who decides what information can be shared with whom; who is monitoring the success of the strategy?

What protocols are in place to capture information and evidence accurately and who is responsible for monitoring them?

Legal action will never be the first line of response. If it ever needs to be pursued though then capturing and retaining relevant evidence from the outset, will be very important. Even if not, the senior management team will want clarity on the magnitude of the problem to understand their options and the best tactics to employ. Establishing effective, consistent ways of capturing relevant information will be important, especially when matters escalate and feelings are running high.


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