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Survey finds crisis management failings in US public agencies

In a white paper entitled ‘Are public agencies better prepared to deal with crises in 2014?’ Noggin IT has released findings from a survey of US organizations.

The survey, conducted in late 2013, reveals an increasingly complex environment for those in crisis management due to greater regulatory compliance, Internet-connected stakeholders, more unpredictable weather events and political and financial volatility, where technology is key to improving organizational resilience and business continuity.

James Boddam-Whetham, managing director Noggin IT says “We are seeing a situation where public agencies are being required to do more with less. Some of the interesting pain points that came out of this survey were that actual crisis management team activation was still a struggle for many organizations; as was the broader issue of employee communications during a crisis. Both point to a perhaps overlooked consideration for a crisis management software solution: can it actually assist you manage your internal people affairs during a crisis. Much of the emphasis for crisis management systems has been on informing the public, or alerts and notifications, rather than necessarily getting the internal ship in order. An ability to organise internal stakeholders would therefore seem to be a logical consideration for any crisis management solution.”

Key findings from the survey include:

1. A glaring inconsistency in crisis communications priority and technology adoption

Over 80 percent of organizations surveyed have a crisis management team in place and considered themselves proactive rather than reactive in all aspects of crisis management. However, approximately half of the respondents are still using outdated technology including spreadsheets for contacts or manual lookup process to carry out their crisis communications and alerts. Of those who were still using manual systems 65 percent saw the benefits of having a specialised crisis communications and management solution.

2. Increased NIMS and other regulatory compliance an ongoing concern

The increasing pressure to meet reporting and compliance regulations is also being felt with 80 percent of surveyed public administration organizations stating the need to comply with regulatory requirements, specifically the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

3. Crisis management plan activation - either ‘routine’ or an unusual event

Among public safety respondents, approximately 10 percent of the organizations surveyed experience over 100 incidents that activated their crisis management team, while 80 percent of the organizations surveyed activated their crisis management team less than five times in the preceding 12 months – with one third not at all.

4. Natural hazards still a crisis activation priority

Nearly 100 percent of respondents activated their crisis management teams to respond to both natural disasters and environmental issues affecting their communities.

To download the whitepaper click here.

•Date: 21st March 2014 • US •Type: Article • Topic: Crisis management

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