Third of NGOs do not provide risk management training to travellers

22 September 2015

Charities, faith organisations and NGOs should have robust travel risk management programmes, according to an international travel management company.

In a report, Key Travel said that a risk policy is a must for any organisation that has people travelling, whether in the UK or further afield.

The report, Managing risk – Why, when, how?, said that 42 per cent of respondents to a survey provided travellers with destination and risk management training or briefings before departure, but just over one third (37 per cent) did not.

Key Travel co-ordinated a forum of experts and practitioners to look at the variety of risks from extreme weather conditions to road accidents, and how to construct policies to deal with them.

The report said that the main factors that affected decisions to travel between 2014 and 2015 were Ebola, terrorist activity, political unrest, natural disaster and risks specific to lone female travellers.

Nearly a quarter of the 1,500 survey respondents or their colleagues said a serious incident had happened in a location they were travelling to.  

Some 30 per cent of travellers felt global incidents and crises impacted the sense of security they felt when travelling, and 40 per cent were travelling less frequently or to different locations as a result.

Key Travel’s recommendations for a travel risk management programme are:

1. Create a team consisting of one person from each department and then make one person responsible for executing that policy and communicating it to the organisation’s travel management company and other suppliers.

2. Approach high risk and low risk destinations with the same care.

3. Make sure the message regarding the risk management programme comes from board level.

4. Assess the health of employees before sending them overseas.

5. Create a link between HR and traveller profiles.

6. Review travel and risk programmes regularly.

7. Use material from debriefs to create a knowledge bank.

Neil Bullock, security manager at Christian Aid and contributor to the report, said that at the charity employees make an online travel request that goes through their line manager, the country manager of the destination and security manager.

“As part of that approval process, they sign off on a number of things,” said Bullock. “These include basic security training such as personal safety, keeping a low profile, avoiding conflict with local culture with the way they dress, what hotels to choose, avoiding public disorder situations, what to put in a ‘grab pack’ so that if there is an incident it will keep them going for 48 hours.”

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