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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2012
IN DEPTH 16 GRC Professional • Summer 2012 careful planning and thought. In our view, you need all the relevant parts of the organisation involved. Just as a crisis management team will involve people from various parts of the organisation, how you respond publicly to a crisis will need to have input from the relevant range of people in the organisation,” recommends Chen. He also says that organisations should rehearse their plan, and that it’s not good enough to have to deal with a real-life incident without practise. “When the unthinkable does happen, the organisation needs to be able to know what a crisis can feel like and that they know what to do,” says Chen. “The last thing you want is for the organisation to freeze at the moment of crisis.” The social media side effect The immediacy of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter escalate the affects of reputational risk. British comedian and serial Twitterer Stephen Fry, himself caught up in another Qantas Airbus A380 engine incident on 4 November last year, wasted no time in telling his 3.5 million followers that he was safe. “I should in all conscience add that staff are being wonderful & that morale is high and the passengers understanding and cheerful,” he tweeted. Chen says the public increasingly see social media as a credible source of information and a legitimate means of communication and, for this reason, it will always be a means of disseminating information about your organisation. “Social media is very accessible and instantaneous,” he says. “It’s changed the way information becomes public and it’s no longer the case that only journalists or commentators broadcast information. There isn’t the time delay any more that we associate with traditional forms of media.” Qantas also faced Twitter backlash over a competition launched on 22 November. The ‘Qantas Luxury’ competition asked users to describe their “dream luxury inflight experience” using the hashtag #QantasLuxury. Tweets came pouring in but most were negative, further denouncing the airline’s response to the recent union strikes and their safety record. One tweeter said: “I think #QantasLuxury is flying in a plane where every nut and bolt has been checked and double checked by someone in Australia who cares”. Ethically speaking Dozens of flights were cancelled in June 2010 as the ash plume from the Puyehue volcano streamed across the Atlantic and Indian oceans and into Australian and New Zealand airspace. However, Virgin Australia continued to fly some routes when all other airlines stayed grounded. At the time, that decision was based on information from the Bureau of Meteorology and also the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. So why were all other airlines slow to follow? Did Virgin Australia act on a plan that ensured it was up and running as quickly as possible after the event? Phil Henderson from Airservices The swiss cheese affect Phil Henderson, Manager, Compliance Office of Legal Counsel for Airservices Australia, recalls watching a volcano-related documentary about an Air New Zealand plane that crashed into the side of Mt Erebus in Antarctica, an active volcano. The primary cause was put down to incorrect navigation data coordinates being uploaded to the plane’s flight management system. Henderson says that, when the head of the mapping and navigation area was interviewed, he was incredulous, stating: “This cannot have happened. This is aviation. We check, we cross- check and we double check” . “ While systems and procedures do sometimes have double and even triple redundancy, mistakes, errors, incidents and accidents do still occur,” Henderson says. He advises that all compliance and risk managers, if they are not already familiar with his work, read about James Reason’s “ Swiss cheese” organisational model of accident causation and appreciate that, although a multitude of risk controls may be in place: (a) accidents can and still do happen; and (b) accidents are not normally caused by a single factor, but by a number of factors simultaneously occurring (when the holes in the Swiss cheese all line up to the light at the same time). One tweeter said: “I think #QantasLuxury is flying in a plane where every nut and bolt has been checked and double checked by someone in Australia who cares”.
GRC Spring 2011
GRC Autumn 2012