UNE engaged BBS to project manage its issues response following negative media and social media coverage relating to the release of an independent report commissioned by the University into matters relating to personal assaults.
Given the high risk of reputational damage to the University, BBS worked with the university executive, in-house communications and marketing teams to manage the immediate issue and provide a robust framework to help them manage any future issues that may arise.
The challenge was to contain the impact of the immediate issue by ensuring accurate reporting and also the proactive action being taken by the university.
BBS embedded a team member at UNE to project manage the immediate issue and ensure direct access to information and key internal stakeholders. During this time, we undertook a communications audit to identify risks, particularly relating to the immediate issue and issues management generally which included one-on-one interviews and a review of key communication policies, procedures, strategies and processes.
In response to this, our consultants developed an issues management response plan to guide the internal team in responding to any future media or reputation issue. This plan was designed to align with the University’s existing crisis strategy and allow for some of the existing crisis strategy tools to be easily adapted for an issues management response.
Additional actions, tools and skill gaps for further development were also identified with a view to enhancing the in-house team’s capabilities and providing a high-level roadmap to address gaps in process and expertise beyond the immediate issue.
The immediate issue was contained without any further negative media activity, while delivering key tools and processes that could be used as foundational elements for an ongoing issues management toolkit for the University.