Key Travel has released a new White Paper which encourages organisations within the charity, faith and NGO sectors to adopt a robust travel risk management programme. The paper ‘Managing risk – Why, when, how?’ is a call to action – citing that a risk policy is a must for any organisation that has people travelling, whether in the UK or further afield.
The international travel management company is dedicated to serving the complex travel needs of the humanitarian sector, supporting people and teams travelling to the most vulnerable and remote locations of the world so they can help achieve their goals of supporting healing and educating people worldwide.
In producing this paper, Key Travel co-ordinated a high level forum of leading experts and practitioners to look at the variety of risks staff may encounter, what the options are for mitigating those risks and how policies should be constructed and disseminated to all parties.
From threats ranging from extreme weather conditions to road accidents, the new paper highlights the need to assess and mitigate risk for travellers, with pre and post-trip best practices provided by a range of experts.
According to recent survey results* published in the paper, the five main factors which 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 claimed they had been overseas when a serious incident happened in a location they were travelling to. While 30 per cent of travellers felt global incidents and crises impacted the sense of security they felt when travelling, 40 per cent were travelling less frequently or to different locations as a result of this.
As a starting point, Mark Hide of Planet Wise urges organisations to have a risk policy written up , make it widely available in print and online, and have it embedded in travel policy to ensure that compliance to one automatically means compliance to the other. “You need proof travellers have read and understood your travel and safety policy,” he said.
At Christian Aid, employees make an online travel request that goes through their line manager, the country manager of the destination and security manager, Neil Bullock. “As part of that approval process, they sign off on a number of things,” he says. “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.
“We also get travellers to do their own risk assessment and to look at what is likely to be a threat to them. It gets people to engage with what they are doing and where they are going”, he adds.
Key Travel has been supporting the safety and wellbeing of travellers for over 30 years and continues to invest in the development of support services in this area.
Coming soon: launch of risk management tools for travellers
The paper comes ahead of the launch of Amadeus Mobile Messenger – a tracking, destination information, alert and communication tool, and have also partnered with International SOS – offering 24-hour emergency telephone medical support, pre-trip training, risk tracking and planning resources.
Key experts summarise what a successful travel risk management programme should entail.
- Create a team consisting of one person from each department and make one person responsible for executing that policy and communicating it to the organisation’s Travel Management Company and other suppliers, to ensure compliance.
- Approach high risk and low risk destinations with the same care and attention. The organisation and their employees need to be equally prepared for travel to both.
- The message should come from the top;, for example the CEO and board, to ensure that best practice permeates throughout the organisation. This promotes compliance to a policy that should be mandated.
- Assess the health of employees before sending them overseas for periods of time. High blood pressure or cholesterol, medical history – heart attack, stroke – all this and more can be documented. Many people do not even know their own blood type. Mental health, stress and anxiety are also crucial factors.
- Create a link between HR and travel profiles, and ask travellers to update their profile each time they travel. This ensures all personal information is current.
- Christian Aid continually assesses whether security policies need to be changed, so review travel and risk programmes regularly, to ensure they are keeping up with an ever-changing world.
- Material created during debriefs should be used to create a knowledge bank, which becomes part of future briefings so that travellers benefit from the experience of others.