Future-proof planning for pandemics, floods, and major events is more relevant than ever following the COVID outbreak.
This unprecedented pandemic has made many housing associations consider and reshape their responses to dealing with disasters in the future. It has never been so vital to reflect on how things could be improved as knowing how to anticipate such events will not only limit their impact but will contribute to bounce-back-ability.
Joining us at this week’s breakfast briefing, we had Paula Underwood, the Group Head of Support Network at Torus and Martin Cutbill, Director at Alertacall. Both gave their expert guidance on how to continue navigating these unprecedented times. In this article, you’ll find a compilation of their best practices and expertise to deal with and prevent seemingly catastrophic situations with overwhelming consequences.
Communicative Crisis Management
Having experienced three major incidents in nearly as many months, some would say Paula Underwood from Torus was well qualified to share her expertise of managing crisis situations. When responding to the fire at Heald Farm Court earlier this year, the organisation showed a tremendous response. For instance, they orchestrated their efforts to coordinate staff on-site evacuating households from the block. They informed the Torus Tactical Team via instant messaging and also offered advice and support for residents on returning to their apartments.
Torus also confronted the Warrington Floods with effectiveness. Throughout the event, teams from both Torus and Warrington BC supported residents. They facilitated the relocation of families and pets who needed to be moved into emergency hotel accommodation. Additionally, there was also extra support provided in the form of a steady network of food drops, subsistence payments, toiletries, and even medication.
Then to end this triple whammy, Torus experienced a COVID outbreak in one of their schemes – which saw them effectively manage both concerned colleagues and customers who were forced to lock down.
So, what were Paula’s key takeaways from these most challenging of situations?
6 Tips for Future-proof Planning
- Directing and making use of tactical teams. The team at Torus benefit from having a tactical team Whatsapp group that enables them to share updates quickly and collectively with relevant staff.
- Having a reliable on-site team. It’s necessary to be able to take action on the ground. Where needed, Torus split their on-site teams into two groups. One focuses on liaison with residents and stakeholders, whilst the other one concentrates on practical measures such as booking alternative accommodation.
- Re-evaluating your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Considering that your plan not only takes into account business continuity but it also ensures customer experience continuity.
- Establishing responsive on-call services. Torus now have a rota of senior staff, one from the housing function and one from assets at all times. Their seniority enables them to make decisions and allocate budget without additional authority.
- Revisiting your processes. Ideally, process mapping all likely events to ensure you’ve considered each scenario and have the right support in place.
- Clear communication standards. Great communications both during a crisis and in the prevention of a crisis are important. Torus has invested in technology to address this with the introduction of devices such as the Alertacall Housing Proactive. On this, Martin Cutbill from Alertacall shared how this technology had provided housing associations with an invaluable way to stay in touch with customers during COVID. He also shared some startling facts from the Red Cross around the impact of loneliness that can be prevented with regular communication.
Robust Responses in Times of Crisis
If tough times are here to stay, then future challenges have to be dealt with in advance and resilient leadership in crisis will be the one responding consistently.
You don’t have to wait until is the end of the world to put a plan in place. Get in touch with us today if you want us to tackle your Armageddons ahead of time.
Start now. Speak to us today to see how we can help your business get moving and planning.
Remember that if you would like to discuss any of the items raised in this blog, you can contact Peter Lunio at firstname.lastname@example.org