Pandemic response highlights siloed approach to business continuity and crisis management

Published: Thursday, 24 September 2020 08:43

A new Airmic and Control Risks report captures some of the lessons that organizations have learned from the COVID-19 crisis. ‘New challenges, new lessons’ says the pandemic has highlighted the siloed approach to business continuity management and crisis management that is present in many organizations. The report also identifies a disconnect between strategic risk and operational resilience and says that business continuity management and crisis management should be aligned to an organization’s strategic direction.

Several core elements for resilience are emphasised by the report: leadership, data, people, and operating models.


Effective leadership is regarded as the most important resilience principle that organizations prioritise. Some 70.7 percent of respondents said it was among their organization’s top three priorities.

This requires striking the balance of involvement of senior leadership (i.e. CEO) in continuous crisis management, while avoiding knee jerk, ill-informed leadership decision making.


The second element was data. Organizations have been heavily reliant on data supplied by UK government sources for risk intelligence during the COVID-19 crisis. Some 84 percent of respondents found it the most useful source of risk intelligence.

This was followed by third-party sources, used by 54.7 percent of respondents. Meanwhile, less than half of respondents relied on tailored advice and guidance such as from risk advisers (45.3 percent) and insurance advisers (22.7 percent).


The third element highlighted was people. There were high levels of confidence that risk professionals have had the right competencies to deal effectively with the pandemic, especially pertaining to risk awareness and scenario planning skills.

Among respondents, 85.4 percent believed risk professionals in their organizations have the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to do so. Where it was felt they required further development was in the awareness of the interconnectivity of different risks, and in engaging with business issues.

The structure of the current workforce in some organizations is not set up to meet future requirements. Of respondents, 39.5 percent said their organizations were not considering remote working as a permanent option, even for roles that allow for it, or were still tentative about remote working options.

Operating models

Operating models are also crucial to resilience. There was a very strong perception that the crisis management of organizations were effective during COVID-19, according to 96.6 percent of respondents.

A significant proportion of organizations (41.7 percent) plan to make changes to their supply chains. An interruption to a supply chain can cause an array of problems – from loss of revenue and reputational damage, to breach of contract, loss of market share, and damage to stock price.

Click here to read the full report (PDF).