Structured Debriefing and Recovery Planning
Having experienced a significant emergency event or business continuity invocation, simply returning to the previous state (before the disruption) is rarely the best solution. Organisations should always learn and improve following a disruption, whether that be a short-term incident or one with the impacts of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, for example.Debriefing is an essential process following events. Put simply a debrief is a simple, yet powerful tool that enables a team to self-correct, gel as a team, and enhance their performance. During debriefs, team members reflect upon a recent experience, discuss what went well and identify opportunities for improvement.

Debriefing can occur at different levels. ICS has experience to plan, deliver and produce professional reporting for all levels of debriefing. Facilitated debriefing of performance occurs throughout our training courses, however short, as we focus on behavioural aspects of emergency management. More structured debriefs are suitable for exercises and bigger events, in which there are multiple levels of response, as well as the need for a focus on organisational learning and objectives.

Victoria Willis is a qualified Advanced Structured Debriefer, having used this technique within policing and for HM Government to debrief high profile terrorist, serious crime and public order events.

Why can structured debriefing assist your organisation?

Structured debriefing is recommended, indicating that debriefing is a planned activity, facilitated by individuals experienced in the debriefing process and performed in a trusting environment in which objectives define learning outcomes and guide debriefing (Sittner et al., 2015). It is independent so apportions no blame. It includes and allows a voice for every member of the debrief group, thereby producing honest, evidenced and balanced feedback.

Recovery Planning

It is usual to see plenty of activity during the response phase of an event, as responders work to get the situation under control. We may then typically revert to Business Continuity processes in order to get our critical business activity, as identified by our Business Impact Analysis, up and running. Then comes the recovery stage.

Experience tells us that some organisations fail to focus on the recovery stage of an event, but instead depend on normal organisational processes to manage this. On some occasions this may be appropriate. However, in many situations, normal processes don’t allow organisations to get up and running back to a ‘new normal’ as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is where recovery planning is critical to business survival.

Having worked on the now published HM Government Recovery Planning for the nuclear sector, ICS are ideally placed to advise you on effective and practical planning to put in place for recovery from any event, in line with ISO 22301, HM Government guidelines and best practice through many years of implementing such processes.

Recovery Planning allows you to consider:

  • What the post-incident “new normal” will be?
  • What steps you need to take to effectively restart operations?
  • Defining the future state of your business model
  • Reviewing the current state and lessons learned
  • Establishing guidelines and policies for operating in the post-incident world
  • Developing a strategy with execution triggers