For many companies, the process of determining the possible and acceptable risks of an event starts and ends at the identification of a location and the available budget.
Because of this fragmented approach to planning, a vacuum is created where only those risks immediately known to the planners are considered.
From the onset, representatives from internal sources (finance, marketing, human resources, travel, risk and compliance, security, etc) and external sources (emergency services, local government, vendors, suppliers, event locations, etc) should be engaged.
Those in charge of the event should focus on leadership within the process rather than be the primary risk identification and ruling authority.
The identification of threats should be conducted in an objective manner before a location is even identified or commitment to any final programme is finalised. The first thing companies need to do is to conduct an initial assessment of risk elements, whether they be natural, accidental or human, including identification of undesirable events caused by such elements and the impact it could have. Identification of treatment solutions to adequately prevent, contain or respond to incidents will then determine the overall risk to people. Finally, resources are then prepared and coordinated by comprehensive plans, preparations and rehearsals.
Disruptions commonly overlooked include inadequate medical requirements, natural disasters, vehicle accidents, parallel events, political influences, inadequate emergency response capability and predatory crime.
Planners should be asking routine questions such as: what happens if someone falls ill, how would we handle a motor vehicle accident, what do we do after a fire, how does the security really work, how are we getting people to and from the venues and what else is happening at the time of our event? Plans and resources should be clearly available for all these scenarios at a very minimum.
With much to gain but with even more to lose, companies need to be more aware of any disruptions that can have a disproportional impact on their events.
Planners need to remember that risk management is not an added extra.