Crisis Management and Security Support

Date: 04.03.2015     Last updated: 18.10.2018 at 19.53
The BBC and its contractors are sometimes required to work in difficult and challenging circumstances. Safety and security issues may occur either during programme making or following transmission.

It is important that security risks are considered early and in conjunction with the production safety risk assessment.

The BBC’s worldwide brand and reputation make it a popular target for those who seek to curtail its broadcasting output and prevent stories or issues receiving fair and balanced coverage.

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Attacks or threats to the safety of employees and contractors, when working for the BBC, particularly when deployed away from their usual base in the UK or overseas. This might include reputational or personal abuse, rendered verbally, through social media or internet websites; physical violence, capture, imprisonment and stalking.
  • Attacks or threats to the BBC, its contractors and other members of the press.
  • Physical, electronic or cyber-based attacks on BBC buildings, technical infrastructure, production teams and locations, programme output, transmission paths and communications, including phones and IT systems.

Legal/BBC Requirements

  • This guide provides important background and information to inform your planning, assessment and arrangements. Reading them does not make you an expert, nor preclude the need for separate risk assessment. If you require any additional information or clarification you should always contact the Safety Advice Line or High Risk team, as appropriate.

Control Measures

General Controls

  • It is important to plan ahead rather than be driven by unfolding events:
  • Identify the members of a crisis management team in the planning phase
  • Establish a protocol for passing routine information and an escalation procedure. This should include weekends and “out of hours” provision.

1 - Planning

Identify potential crisis management team members before work starts. For example:

  • Person in charge of production and a responsible manager
  • Corporate Security or High Risk Team representative
  • HR representative
  • The BBC Press Office should be consulted
  • A legal advisor may be required
  • Ensure HR and contact information is up to date and checked, including contact numbers for nominated Next of Kin.

BBC Corporate Security and the High Risk Team can support the planning process and contribute to the development of risk assessments by;

  • Advising on appropriate training in preparation for an assignment
  • Advising on the crisis management arrangements.

2- Managing Risks

Where there are significant risks identified, or there is any concern for the safety and security of staff or contributors BBC Safety must be consulted:

  • Where there is criminal threat, activity or intent, inform BBC Corporate Security at the earliest opportunity. They are responsible for advising on the safety and security of staff after production and transmission.
  • For work in Hostile Environments, High Risk Activities and High Risk Events contact the BBC High Risk Team.
  • In a BBC location, ensure personnel remain vigilant to security risks, wear BBC ID and do not let people "tailgate" into secure areas.
  • If your assessment indicates that the team or individuals are likely to be involved in traumatic events or situations, consider Trauma Awareness training. More information can be found in the Trauma guide.

3 - Managing an Incident or Event

  • In the event of a fatality or serious injury notify senior management, nominated next of kin, HR and Press Office. Read the HR Support during Major incidents document for more information.
  • If necessary plan to recover staff and provide appropriate managerial, welfare and trauma support, for those impacted by events.
  • Once the initial emergency phase has passed the following information should be established

Establish the facts/chronology of the incident as far as possible:

  • Establish the follow up to the incident by local emergency services and BBC bureau/office if appropriate. Overseas legislation may differ from UK regulations.
  • Did the individual act on their own initiative?
  • Did the individual respond to direction from BBC management?
  • Was the individual directed by an independent company?
  • Terms of Contract: What contract or terms of service was the individual working under?
  • Were there special circumstances such as a leave of absence from a BBC post?
  • If working as a stringer did the individual offer copy to the BBC or were they contracted for a specific piece of work?
  • Was there a recent history of copy/pieces supplied?
  • Risk Assessment Process:  Was there a Risk Assessment in place and were controls or work procedures being followed?
  • Confirm the identity of the authority for sign off and provision of safety and/or specialist advice
  • Was individual appropriately trained and suitably equipped?

4 - Points of Contact

For Programme related issues, contact is through:

  • W1 Duty Manager.
  • News Duty Operations Manager (News DOM)
  • BBC Corporate Security
  • BBC High Risk Team

Division Specific Issues

  • No division specific issues.

FAQs/Did You Know?

The latest BBC emergency information and incident updates can be found from the BBC emergency information web page and using the sources below:

  • Telephone: 0800 0688 159
  • Twitter: @BBC159

 Safety Guides - Quick Links

About this site

This site describes what the BBC does in relation to managing its health, safety and security risks and is intended for those who work directly for the BBC.

It is not intended to provide instruction or guidance on how third parties should manage their risks. The BBC cannot be held liable for how this information is interpreted or used by third parties, nor provide any assurance that adopting it would provide any measure of legal compliance. More information.


Links: Some links on this site are only accessible when connected to the BBC network