2017 Agenda

08:00 - 09:00 Breakfast Briefing: The Golden Hour

A how-to guide on what to do in the first critical hour following a crisis

Your actions during the first 60 minutes of a crisis are able to make or break your crisis management efforts. This session will show you how to take advantage of this crucial time window by covering all bases from the offset, and ensuring that every second is accounted for.

Jonathan Hemus, Managing Director, Insignia

Limited places available - please select when booking your conference place

08:15 Registration and coffee
09:00 Chair’s opening remarks

Niall Duffy, Director of External Affairs, Independent Press Standards Organisation


09:15 Shoreham Air Disaster - dealing with matters of life and death

On 22 August 2015, a vintage plane crashed during a display at the Shoreham Airshow at Shoreham Airport killing 11 people. The crash attracted international media attention. Katie Perkin, head of corporate communications at Sussex Police at the time of the crash and will tell the story of what happened on the 22nd August and how Sussex Police managed communications with the public in a very challenging and fast moving situation. She will talk about the lessons that she learnt and offer some practical tips for dealing with a crisis.

Katie Perkin, Head of Corporate Communications, Sussex Police


09.45 Storm Desmond & Eva - the importance of planning

In December 2015 England saw the wettest December in a century. Around 16,000 houses were flooded by Storm Desmond and Eva. Northern England was one of the worst affected areas, with many losing their homes and businesses. In this incredibly trying time, residents were looking to local government to lead the response and to insurance companies to provide additional support and help them to rebuild their livelihoods. In this session, Louise Johnson, Communications Manager at Calderdale Council and Frances Browning, Head of Brand PR and Social Media at Direct Line will discuss how robust planning, the use of social media and clear communication enabled both organisations to be able to handle the crisis in an effective and efficient manner.

Louise Johnson, Communications Manager, Calderdale Council

Frances Browning, Head of Brand PR and Social Media, Direct Line

10:15 Showing the communications function at its strategic best

So much of a crisis response is judged by the communications: this, after all, is how stakeholders hear about what has happened, what the organisation at the heart of the crisis is doing to respond, and how it feels about it. No crisis should be managed without communications at the top table.

Although a crisis is a time of high pressure and scrutiny for the communications function, it is also an opportunity for it to be shown at its best. Andrew Griffin will discuss the criticality of communications in a crisis and explore how the function can demonstrate its strategic value at a time of acute reputation risk.

Andrew Griffin, Partner, Regester Larkin by Deloitte and former CEO, Regester Larkin

10.35 Morning refreshments


11.05 Save Our Steel

In 2016 global steel producer, Tata Steel was forced to announce the potential sale of its UK operations after steel prices collapsed. The entire UK steel industry was plunged into crisis, and Tata Steel faced a race against time to survive and save its 16,000 jobs.

During this session, Rob Simpson, Head of Media Relations for Tata Steel’s European operations, will explain how the business dealt with the fall-out caused by this decision and the uncertainty that followed; talking specifically about how they kept stakeholders engaged during the negotiations and simultaneously managed their reputation when the eyes of the world were watching.

Rob Simpson, Head of Media Relations, Tata Steel Europe

11.35 Clandon Park Fire & Aftermath - the importance of stakeholder engagement in crisis management

As one of the historical buildings under its care, the National Trust faced scrutiny when a huge fire tore through 18th century mansion, Clandon Park in April 2015. Commentators speculated that the magnificent house and its priceless collections would be lost for good. As a charity which prides itself on protecting historical buildings, the National Trust faced a huge reputational challenge as well as one of the biggest conservation challenges in generations.

The trust set out to keep their stakeholders engaged every step of the way; from the ruinous fire to the rebirth of the house. They engaged directly with their 4.5m members, providing the public with timely content-rich updates and carefully planned media moments, as well as working with key stakeholders to ensure support for the innovative vision for the house.

Against all odds the fire did not damage the trust’s reputation. Their open, honest and stakeholder-focused response enhanced the trust’s reputation rather than damage it.

Nick Foley, Head of Communications, National Trust

11:05 - 12:05 Social Media Crisis Simulation: It all started with one tweet (optional)

The advent of social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. Most notably, it has enabled the sharing of information at unprecedented speeds. Whilst this is helpful at times, it can be incredibly stressful and hard to manage in a crisis.

Guided by experts in the field, this fun simulation exercise will take you through mock social media crises that you will need to navigate to protect the interests of your organisation. Are you ready?

Kate Hartley, Co-founder, Polpeo

12.05 Crisis communications in a new era of reputational risk

Traditionally, crisis management is focused on responding to events like accidents, fires and IT outages. Whilst physical incidents remain an essential part of crisis communication planning, the storm surrounding United Airlines’ removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight is symptomatic of a new era of reputational risk. In this session, Insignia’s Jonathan Hemus will discuss how organisations can plan for and respond to these new challenges.

Jonathan Hemus, Managing Director, Insignia

12.25 Lunch and networking opportunities


13.30 Afternoon’s chair remarks

John Shield, Director of Communications, BBC

13.35 Terrorism Overseas - managing the unimaginable

On 26 June 2015, a terrorist opened fire on a beach in Port El Kantaou, Tunisia, killing 38 people, 30 of which were British citizens. All 30 British citizens were travelling with Thomson. Fiona will be discussing how the company dealt with this incredibly challenging overseas crisis, including how they managed a huge range of internal and external comms during the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Fiona Jennings, External Communications Director, TUI UK & Ireland

14.05 Panel: Anticipating a Crisis - how to spot a crisis, prepare for an impending crisis and come out the other side unharmed

Not only can crisis hit at any moment, it can also take any form. So how do you prepare your organisation for an unknown threat? To what extent are you able to plan for this threat? And how do you deal with the immense pressure that crisis brings? This panel session will show you how to adequately prepare for a crisis and ensure that you are armed with the tools to face whatever may lie ahead.

(Moderator) Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive, Understanding Animal Research
Francis Thomas, Head of Corporate Affairs, London Midland
Penny Fox, Head of Strategic Environment, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Katherine Allin, Communications Manager, British Paralympic Association
Jim Sheldrake, Director, Issues and Risk Communications, Novartis International AG

14:05 - 15:05 Social Media Crisis Simulation: It all started with one tweet... (optional - repeat session)

The advent of social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. Most notably, it has enabled the sharing of information at unprecedented speeds. Whilst this is helpful at times, it can be incredibly stressful and hard to manage in a crisis.

Guided by experts in the field, this fun simulation exercise will take you through mock social media crises that you will need to navigate to protect the interests of your organisation. Are you ready?

Kate Hartley, Co-founder, Polpeo

14:45 Handling a Hack

A live hacking scenario, which demonstrates the progress of a cyber-attack, tracks the communications response at every stage and discusses how to address and avoid this type of crisis.

Steph Bailey, MD Corporate, FleishmanHillard Fishburn
Lily Kennett, Director of Intelligence, Schillings

15:05 Afternoon refreshments


15:35 Fireside Interview: working with the press

During this fireside discussion, John Shield will be speaking to Daily Mirror Editor, Peter Willis on the best practices for dealing with the press when crisis hits.

John Shield, Director of Communications, BBC

Peter Willis, Editor, Daily Mirror

16:05 Dangerous Dogs - how to remain trustworthy in the eyes of the public when the reputation of your brand is called into question

As 2015 drew to a close, one of the UK’s best known and much loved charities, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, faced its most serious threat to its reputation in generations. On 30 December the Home was contacted by a tabloid Sunday paper, who claimed to have received serious animal welfare allegations against the charity from an internal whistle-blower.

Dee McIntosh will share the team's experience of managing the crisis for the charity, particularly exploring how important trust in a brand can be in damage limitation in a crisis.

Dee McIntosh, Director of Communications and External Affairs, Battersea Dogs Home

15:35 - 16:35 Workshop: Preparing your senior leaders (optional)

Board engagement strategy: how to prepare your senior leaders for a crisis.

Fflur Sheppard, Associate Director, Beattie Communications

16.35 Aleppo

In recent years the northern Syrian city of Aleppo has seen death and destruction on a grand scale. For some time the International Committee of the Red Cross was one of the few aid organisations present and in December 2016 the world watched as its teams helped manage a large evacuation from the eastern part of the city. As a strictly neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation, the ICRC has to carefully communicate its actions not just to the world’s traditional and social media, but also to States, armed forces, armed groups and civilians. Matthew Morris, UK & Ireland Spokesperson for the ICRC, joins us to share his experiences of this particular media storm.

Matthew Morris, UK & Ireland Spokesperson, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

17:05 Chair’s closing remarks
17.10 End of conference

Speaking opportunities
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