We deploy, frequently at short notice, to assist clients managing crises. Our approach is to work alongside client teams as quickly as possible to establish a strategy that will first stabilise the situation, and then plot a course for a return to ‘business-as-usual’ with as little disruption and reputational harm as possible. DRD has deep expertise in specific areas of crisis which occur frequently – examples of which are outlined in the sections below.
A UK charity faced issues arising from regulatory and media scrutiny into its historic safeguarding, employment and HR practices as well as work-based culture. Due to an absence of strategy when the crisis hit, the team had handled it in a reactive, rather than strategic way, thus it became responsive to external forces like media requests.
DRD worked alongside the legal team to agree a strategy on risk control and stakeholder communications. We created a series of fact sheets and Q&A materials for briefing the media on the facts, thus preventing the spread of false information and a further escalation of issues.
The organisation was out of the media spotlight after it stopped reacting to every media enquiry. Following that, DRD helped the team to establish the required communications strategy, plans and guidelines as well as recommended a team structure for future, empowering every member to play to the best of their capabilities during the crisis management cycle.
A CEO of a high-profile charity providing front-line services to a wide range of citizens resigned having formally complained about trustee behaviours. Having rejected the outcome of an independent investigation commissioned by the trustees, the former executive officer went public with his complaint while inciting former employees to continue it in his absence. The Board of Trustees sought immediate advice as to how to prevent the incident from becoming an issue for one of a number of regulators, prevent reputation damage and loss of confidence while it continued its service.
Working with trustees and the interim CEO, we developed a powerful set of statements and fact sheets to categorically prove that there was no reduction or disruption in service, and that the critical work of the charity was ongoing. The charity focused on its purpose and chose not to engage in the media ‘flurry’ that the former executive sought to create. Using data and facts to neutralise the story, with our help the charity limited negative coverage and prevented the story becoming of national interest. An internal communications and stakeholder communications programme was devised and delivered by the interim CEO, who received coaching, media training and day-to-day support at the trickiest times for the charity. Working closely with the trustees, the executive team and legal counsel, DRD was able to engage relevant regulators and explain the significant steps undertaken by trustees to mitigate risk and to preserve and protect the value of the charity’s services.
The programme of work over a 100-day period enabled the organisation to retain its equilibrium under the appointment of an interim CEO, and able to provide its vital services. It also prevented unwanted media coverage from creating any loss of confidence in the quality of service provided.