Home > Events > Developing and testing your crisis communications plans

Developing and testing your crisis communications plans

30 Apr - 23 May 2019, 09:30 - 16:00

Interest from the media in higher education stories has arguably never been greater. Stories about the individual universities and colleges, student and staff-related issues, and challenges facing the sector are keeping us visible in newspapers and on TV and radio news, as well as across social media channels. 

  • Do you have robust communications plans in place for handling an emergency or crisis at your university or college?
  • Do you know if those plans work?
  • Do you know who else would be involved in the response and the impact that their decisions could have on you?
  • Do you know the most effective way to engage with your students, your staff  and other stakeholders during a crisis?

A crisis can hit at any time, and this two-day course will help you to confidently answer 'Yes' to the questions above. You will work with expert external trainers to develop a crisis communication plan, and have the opportunity to discuss and test it.

Day one:

On the first day delegates will discuss how a crisis evolves and understand the different elements required to develop a comprehensive communications plans to deal with a crisis affecting the reputation of your institution.

Day two:

Four weeks later, the group will reconvene to test your communications plan to see how well it stands up, including through simulated interviews with a former BBC journalist. By the end of the two days participants will have a robust a crisis communication plan in place to deal with a disaster or significant incident at their university or college, and will have confidence that the plan you developed actually works.

The course will be led by Chris Webb, former Head of News at the Metropolitan Police and now a crisis communication consultant and communications advisor dealing with issues management. Chris currently provides crisis training for UK police press officers and communication departments through the national police communicators and strategic communications courses. He has experience of delivering crisis communications programmes for the National Crime Agency, National Police Chiefs' Council, UK Government Cabinet Office, Emergency Media and Public Affairs Association, and various governments and statutory bodies around the world.

Why you should attend

This immersive two-day course – which includes contact with and support from trainers between sessions – will help you develop a crisis communications plan for a subject of your choosing. It is ideal for those who need to develop a new plan and would benefit from expert advice and support, as well as for those who already have a plan in place but would like to ensure it is as good as it can be and covers all areas.

The course will also give participants the opportunity to take part in a crisis communications simulation and test plans – which is often the thing we fail to do in advance of a real scenario.

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at anyone whose role brings them into contact with crisis communications within an institution and who may be required to develop a plan to manage a reputational issue or play a significant role in carrying out a crisis communications plan.

Job roles are likely to include:

  • Head of Communications / Media Relations
  • Senior Communications Officers / Press Officers
  • Director of Communications
  • Strategic advisor / Public affairs lead
  • Internal communications specialists
  • Head of Vice-Chancellor's office

Dates and venues

We will be running this course in three cities.

London: 23 May and 18 June (Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ)

Birmingham: 22 May and 25 June (Aston University, Aston Street, Birmingham B4 7ET)

Manchester: 30 April and 5 June (University of Manchester, John Owens Building, Manchester, M13 9NR)

The training will take place from 9:30 to 17:00 on both days.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the course and what to expect, please contact us at events@universitiesuk.ac.uk.

Sanaa Busaidy-Hubert

Sanaa Busaidy-Hubert

Events Producer
Universities UK

Esther Dudley

Head of Events and Engagement
Universities UK


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