PlanB Consulting

St Pauls Cathedral Protests

I have been following the Occupy movement protest at St Paul’s Cathedral in London (and round the world) with some interest as this is a type of Business Continuity incident which perhaps many have not thought about.

Most would agree that the Church of England’s handling of the incident has been poor. The protestors are protesting about points such as “We refuse to pay for the banking crisis” and “We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.” These are points
that should resonate with the Church of England as they aspire to champion similar views.

The Cathedral’s decision not to embrace the views of the protestors and to look at trying to
get rid of them was very quickly seen to be hypocrisy and has led to the Cathedral being viewed as being more interested in money (they were losing revenue from tours), privilege and the fabric of their building rather than Christian teachings.

There is a very clear lesson for all of us looking to respond to an incident; the media and the
public very quickly see through any hypocrisy or ‘saying one thing and doing another’ in responding to an incident. So if you are an organisation which portrays itself as being green then you should empathise with green protestors camped outside your headquarters. You should not, through your actions, damage the environment which gives the protestors a reason to target your organisation and show your greenness to be a sham.

Before responding to an incident, review your strategy for dealing with it, don’t just go for gut
reaction, get rid of these “nasty, smelly protestors” but think about the wider context and how your response will be viewed.

About Charlie Maclean-Bristol

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is one of the Founders and Directors of PlanB Consulting. He is also the Training Director of Business Continuity Training Ltd., a UK-based training provider accredited by the Business Continuity Institute. Charlie is a former Business Continuity Institute board member and one of the very few Fellows of both the Emergency Planning Society and the Business Continuity Institute.

A former Infantry Captain in the British Army, Charlie held several emergency planning, business continuity and crisis management positions within the energy and utility industry before founding PlanB Consulting in 2007. Over the past twelve years, Charlie has delivered business continuity consultancy in 6 of the worlds 7 continents, frequently providing full business continuity roll-outs to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors.

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