BBC highlights risk assessment

The BBC has reported its report into last year’s Top Gear crash.  It focuses on ensuring competent people are employed to undertake risk assessment of activities being undertaken and also providing adequate evidence of written record sheets or “third party verification” of such assessments.

has been writing a series of posts on risk management for PR practitioners – which offers some useful considerations.  Crisis management is often seen as being prepared to respond when something has gone wrong – but being able to assess risk and take action to avoid it becoming a crisis, is just as essential.

I believe that alongside competencies in managing reputation and relationships, there is a third R – risk – that needs to be part of PR’s corporate role.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

3 thoughts on “BBC highlights risk assessment”

  1. Richard – I think that understanding risk and taking reasonable precautions is not only sensible, but something those in PR need to build into their planning processes. Not from a “grey suit suffocating the enjoyment out of life” perspective but from a simple, “stich in time” approach that helps avoid creating a crisis down the line.

    I think it is a real PR necessity to ask “what if” and be sure you are comfortable with the options that come to mind. I’m not advocating taking that to the “sky falling on my head” degree.

    In the case of Richard Hammond’s accident, it appears that the tyres on the vehicle were several years old and had not been checked. There also seemed to be a poor paper trail to even show when the tyres had been fitted.

    Checking tyres is a pretty basic risk assessment for any driving, let alone at high speed at the end of a long day when considerable pressure had been put on the vehicle (and the driver).

    Of course, we must not think that by undertaking risk assessment we can – or indeed should – avoid doing anything that might go wrong. But we should be prepared for any reasonable eventuality (which they were in terms of accidents in this case) and recognise whether the risk is worthwhile, or could be mitigated without impacting on the desired outcome and cost.

    Health and safety, like driving, isn’t inherently bad – but neither should be taken to extreme without some consideration.

  2. Heather, Thanks for the mention. But Richard is right in a way. Far too many PR people don’t have a gray suit to their name and just wing it.

    e.g. Lets spam 100 journos.
    e.g. Lets fly a dirigible over parliamet … that’ll get the coverage.
    e.g. Lets ignore the Internet then it’ll go away.

    and famously:

    “It’s really the sense of most blogs being first jottings and half thought through that bothers me. I value the language of Shakespeare, Samual Beckett and Hemingway too much to see its daily massacre. ‘Blogs’ seem in many cases to spring straight from a semi-engaged brain onto the page … saddies and surfers read most of them.”

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