AIM & Pharos – Be Prepared

Seven habits for highly effective incident management

By Julian Penney and Chris Gallant of Pharos Response

You may have come across the management book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; we believe ‘seven’ rules can also apply to incident management. Like anything, the more planning you do, the more you’ll be prepared for an incident. More importantly, as a result of being prepared, the incident is likely to have a lesser impact on your organisation and the people involved.

How prepared are you?

How would you respond to the letter from a solicitor threatening legal action following an injury sustained by a customer in your care; a visit from the Police to break the news that a member of your staff has been arrested for suspected child abuse; or many other comparable situations?

Here’s our seven ‘habits’ for highly effective incident management:

1. Planning

In the outdoor and adventure sector, we tend to be very good at handling incidents ‘in the field’. Typically, we are less prepared for how to prevent these incidents from getting worse or how to handle a more serious incident. Being prepared means identifying potential crises and writing a short plan of considerations. This isn’t a lengthy prose but a punchy list of actions, guides and checklists: what to do, who to do what and who to notify. Of the AIM Members subscribed to Pharos’ service to date, 53% either didn’t have a plan or ‘weren’t sure’ if they did when they signed up.

2. Speed

There is limited time after incidents when you can take control, showing people involved you’re acting responsibly and working towards a solution. Your plan should outline who will be doing what and the faster they make a start, the better for organisational recovery, rather like administering first aid. Conversely, if you have to think through all the details at the time, you’re in danger of sinking. The press will already be calling before you’ve had chance. A plan helps improve your ability to respond, and your speed of response.

3. People

You’ll be making fast decisions as there is usually a lot to do. These decisions are vital in doing the right thing by those involved and also portraying your organisation as being reputable and responsible. Place ‘people’ at the heart of your incident response, which means making management decisions based on wanting the best possible care for the injured, the support of other group members and consideration of relatives. If there is the smallest sign that you’re putting profit before people, things swiftly turn sour. Relatives turn to the press, social media or lawyers in frustration, escalating your incident. Sometimes this could have been avoided by following the first three steps alone.

4. Take responsibility

Even if you believe the cause of an incident to be the fault of a sub-contractor or freelancer, it’s important to take organisational responsibility for getting to the bottom of what happened and providing the necessary support to those affected. Appearing to be passing the buck or seeking blame breeds negative feelings. Much of effective incident management is about ‘just doing the right thing’. After any incident, your organisation falls under the spotlight, perhaps by one family or by the world’s media depending on the scale. How you’re seen to perform under the spotlight affects how people will judge and treat you.

5. Remain visible

In the aftermath of an incident, you’ll be busier than you’d like but it is crucially important that you remain visible and available to those affected. It isn’t just the initial speed of response that is important but ongoing speed. If you suddenly disappear people will ask what’s happened, what’s to hide? Disappearing may be due to phone, email or web systems failing under the pressure, or of course you simply need a break. Either way, this can cost you dearly: a journalist printing “unavailable for comment” or an unanswered question can breed suspicion, concern and eventually claims.

6. Ethical and honest

You don’t need to release all information as soon as you have it but you do need to be responsible with the information you do hold. Stalling or worse, lying, will only bite you later. Make ethical and honest management decisions.

7. Remember the bigger picture

Business continuity should be a part of your plan with people nominated to care for the day-to-day running aside from the incident. Once the eye of the storm has passed, you’ll need to turn some attention to your organisation’s ongoing operations and performance. Review the previous six steps when considering your own organisation, and the impact the incident may have had on it and your staff.

Assistance for AIM Members

Whether you’re a large or small organisation, you will have your own challenges and your own reasons for not being as prepared as you’d like to be; usually a combination of time, money and expertise. Pharos can provide the expertise to help you plan, prepare and train for effective incident management while also being available to you 24/7 to help handle any incident. AIM members benefit from a discounted annual subscription of £125, when usually the fee would be from £995.

Often people assume Pharos is only there to help through the major incidents, but this is not true. We have recently assisted two AIM Members following climbing-related falls where, fortunately, the injuries were minor. However, both cases had the potential to become more serious than the injuries alone would suggest, but through careful stakeholder communications we were able to advise how to defuse the situation, helping to prevent these situations escalating into claims.

For more information visit:



Wintering Your Ropes Course

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On Target Newsletter – Autumn 2018

AIM’s Autumn Newsletter On Target has now been published and hopefully most of you will have had a chance to peruse the pages.  This year’s edition includes some of the usual features such as the Message from our Chairman, a review of AIM claims and updates on events and industry events.

We have a new Mutual Manager, Sophia Reed and Account Executive, Ralph Doe who have joined us and we profile all of the AIM team in this edition so you know who you need to talk to when contacting us.

It also includes a piece written by Vertex on wintering your ropes course with hints and tips on what needs to be done over the winter months to keep your course in tip top condition.  We have profiled long standing AIM member Mendip this year, who have successfully combined snow sports and outdoor activities together to achieve growth.

Our relationship with IOL continues and Andy Robinson CEO has provided a round up of news for the outdoor learning sector and our supporting insurer MS Amlin look at how you manage risk in an ever changing leisure landscape.

We’ve also included details about AIM’s Membership Committee which is seeking new recruits, so if you are interested in hearing more about being on our committee then do please get in touch we’d love to hear from you.[pdf-embedder url=””]




Pharos Crisis Spokesperson Training Event – 12th November 2018

Pharos Response are holding their very popular Crisis Spokesperson Training Course exclusive for AIM Members in London on 12th November 2018 at BLM Law Offices, Plantation Place, London between 10.00 – 17.00pm

The course is heavily discounted for AIM Members at £325 + VAT per person which is a huge saving of £275 per delegate.

The scenario based course is tailored for AIM members and combines skills-based training and practical exercises.  It will feel just like the real thing all the learning but without the consequences if your interviews don’t quite go to plan!

The one day CPD course is aimed specifically at outdoor and activity providers and will help individuals who may be asked for may be asked for comment following an incident and is aimed at senior managers and directors/trustees.  Using relevant case studies from the activity and travel sectors, the training is designed to help build skill and confidence in how to plan for and face the camera.

Delivered by incident management and media experts, our course combines a variety of training methods, including a powerful combination of crisis theory, useful hints and tips and vital interview practice in front of camera and over the phone.  An adventure sector specific scenario will develop throughout the day and delegates will each have the opportunity to be interviewed for radio and TV.

Don’t miss this fantastic training opportunity for you and your key staff.

To book please contact Pharos Response directly here

or visit their webpage for more information.


Lightning Strike & Business Interruption Cover

Lightning strikes are thankfully rare but as AIM Member Wide Horizons’ experienced, they can happen, and they are only one possible cause of damage – fire, storm and flood damage are more common and of course all of these can cause a building to be unavailable for use, with practical and financial implications for an activity provider.  Ensuring you have Business Interruption cover as part of your policy is important.

AIM member Wide Horizons is an adventure learning charity in the UK who provide adventure experiences to approximately 45,000 children and young people a year throughout 8 centres around the UK.

The Townsend site in Swanage needed assistance from the AIM team in October 2014, when, during a violent storm of heavy rain and very strong winds, lightning struck the gable end of one of the dormitory blocks on site. This strike damaged the fire alarm at the building which stopped it from functioning. The storm rumbled on and by 4am a local milkman, on his rounds, discovered the building was on fire and alerted the emergency services. Unfortunately by this time, the building had suffered significant damage including a collapsed front roof and damaged undercroft plus smoke damage throughout and all services (water/electric) were destroyed.

Simon Hicks, Head of Operations at Wide Horizons, told us that thankfully there were no guests in the building at the time and ironically, that was the first night that the building had been empty for approximately 3 months, showing the popularity of the site and the frequency of bookings for the dormitory.

The effect on future bookings could have been disastrous, a group was booked in for the following week so alternative accommodation had to be found and the local youth hostel kindly provided this for us. One group who were booked in were relocated within the Wide Horizons family and changed their location to Wales. We were relieved and pleased that they loved it there and have continued to use that centre. We were unlucky to lose one booking who had to stay at a similar activity centre in Swanage but thankfully the school has remained with us since then.

The need to have the correct plans in place to deal with an incident of this nature is paramount. The centre already had a critical incident plan which was adhered to at the time and since then we have continued to update this plan, and other processes on an annual basis.

As part of its AIM membership, Wide Horizons has Business Interruption cover, which has been so important for our survival, as we were covered for loss of earnings while the new dormitory was being built and this covered an entire term’s worth of business, any one in business but especially working for or involved with a charity can appreciate the impact of losing this level of income.

Despite the fire, the outcome has been very positive for Wide Horizons. The building’s footprint hasn’t changed, but it has allowed us to modernise some of the structure of the building, which was originally built in 1928. We had new fixtures/fittings/furniture throughout, and as a charity that in itself had a significant impact as some of the furniture was in need of updating!

Being a member of AIM has provided peace of mind. In the event of a claim we found that this was handled both professionally and with compassion, AIM did a wonderful job”.

Are You Covered?

AIM offers Business Interruption cover to all members who take Property Damage cover.

Business Interruption covers loss of income (including rent where appropriate) and increased costs arising from damage to a member’s premises. Surveys indicate that most SME’s buy cover for their buildings and contents, whether with AIM or a conventional commercial insurer, but fewer opt for the protection of Business Interruption cover as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Business Interruption, and receiving a quotation, please contact our team and we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Quad Bike

Risk Assessments – Review & Monitor

As recent court activity demonstrates the need to review and monitor your risk assessments is vital.

The operator of an outdoor activity centre near Bath has been ordered to pay £33,000 after a member of the public suffered a fractured hip when the quad bike they were riding tipped over and landed on them.

Council investigators discovered that staff had not received formal training in riding quad bikes and were not adhering to the risk assessments. Inadequate procedures were in place to ensure that staff were being appropriately supervised.

On 8 June 2015 the local authority served an immediate prohibition notice against Hamburger Hill, citing the risk of serious personal injury posed by an all-terrain vehicle overturning “and/or impact caused by loss of control due to inadequate rider skills and knowledge, lack of supervision and information, instruction and training”.

Hamburger Hill had introduced concrete tracks for quad bikes in 2009, surrounded by tyre walls of varying heights. The investigation highlighted failings in how these walls were maintained, as well as inadequate procedures to monitor and review the design and construction of the tracks to ensure that they remained suitable for their intended use.

“You can have the most wonderful risk assessments and policies in place but if they are not monitored and reviewed then they are worthless”

District Judge Taylor, Bristol Magistrates’ Court

Hamburger Hill director Russell Steel appeared on behalf of the company before District Judge Taylor at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 5 July 2018. The company pleaded guilty to an offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in that it failed to control, monitor and review health and safety policies and risk assessments; failed to monitor design and construction of the quadbike tracks and their suitability for that purpose; and failed to monitor and supervise staff.

The company was fined £8000 plus £25,000 in costs as well as a victim surcharge of £170. In sentencing, District Judge Taylor said: “You can have the most wonderful risk assessments and policies in place but if they are not monitored and reviewed then they are worthless.”

Rejecting the argument made by the defence in mitigation that the injury sustained by the member of the public was the result of an isolated incident, the judge said “it was a matter of chance of whether an injury occurred”.

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said the case “illustrates the importance for businesses to not only have the correct safety policies and procedures in place but also to make sure they’re adhered to – day in, day out –  and ensure that risks to public health are addressed”.

Author:- Robert Preston Health & Safety @ Work

Focus on: Cycling

Difference between Claims Made and Occurrence Coverage

We are often asked the question, “What is the difference between ‘Claims Made’ and a ‘Claims Occurring’?” when it comes to the types of liability coverage available in the market.

It is important to understand both types of cover to ensure you have the correct cover in place should a claim happen.

Claims Occurring

The simplest basis of liability cover is on a claims occurring basis, it protects you from any covered incident that occurs during the period of cover, regardless of when the claim is reported even if it is after the cover has lapsed or cancelled.

The usual general liability covers such as employers’ liability, public liability and product liability are normally on a claims occurring basis. If you are a Member of AIM, all these covers will be on a claims occurring basis.

Claims Made

Claims made coverage is slightly more complicated. It provides coverage for incidents that occur during the period of cover only if the claim is also made during the period of cover. As long as you continue to renew with the same provider the coverage will continue, once the cover is lapsed or cancelled the cover stops. However, this presents a problem to those who switch from a claims-made basis to an occurrence basis, or who stop buying coverage altogether.

Fortunately, most claims made covers provide coverage to claims that arise from events that take place on or after a specified date, called the retroactive date.

The retroactive date is extremely important for a claims made cover, and this is usually the date at which cover was first incepted. At each renewal the same retroactive date is carried forward.  If you decide to move providers you must make the new provider aware of the retroactive date and the new provider should carry forward the retroactive date from the previous cover and not use the first day of the new cover as the retroactive date. If the retroactive date goes back a number of years this will probably incur an additional cost with the new provider. Otherwise liability arising from activities prior to inception of the new cover would not be covered by the new provider.

It is important to note that a claims made cover can sometimes pay out in relation to claims made after the end of the period of cover – but only if your provider has accepted a valid notification of circumstances during the cover period.

We would recommend to all of our members when moving from a provider who deals on a claims made basis to one on a claims occurring basis that members send the previous provider a copy of their accident book. This ensures that you have made the provider aware of all circumstances known to you before lapsing the cover with them.

Should you be cancelling the cover as you are no longer operational consideration should be given to the purchase of ‘run off’ cover. This will cover claims after the lapsing or cancelling arising from activities occurring prior to lapsing or cancelling.

Examples of covers normally on a claims made basis are Professional Indemnity and Abuse. If you are a Member of AIM these covers will be on a claims made basis.

We hope you found the explanation useful, should you need any further information or wish to discuss the matter further please contact us on 01892 888423.

Self Employed or Employed

When do Freelance Instructors need their own Personal Public Liability Insurance?

The Skye’s the limit – Climbing & Scrambling in Black Cuillin

Manager’s Travels – Isle of Skye Our industry specialist James Willis recently had the pleasure of spending a holiday on the Isle of Skye following a recent trip to Scotland with the Mutual Manager.  He took the opportunity to do some climbing and walking whilst he was there and his blog follows:-

After an interesting trip visiting members with the Mutual Manager, Sophia headed back to London and I met my wife and a couple of friends for a holiday break to the Island of Skye.

For the Friday and Saturday we had a guide from an AIM member Skye Adventure, the affable John Smith. On the Friday morning we enjoyed a wonderful walk in the Red Cuillin from the Sligachan Hotel to Sron a Bhealain and the Druim na Ruaige where we had our lunch, finding a sheltered spot to enjoy the spectacular views.

In the afternoon we had a coastal walk out to Brothers’ Point (Ruadh nam Brathairean).

Our industry specialist James with friend Alastair and guide John Smith from Skye Adventure

The bigger challenge was on the Saturday (of the Royal Wedding), when we had a memorable day in the Black Cuillin walking and scrambling to the summit of Scurr Alasdair from the Glen Brittle Bay beach. John took us up on a varied and interesting ascent involving some climbing and a number of pitches, descending by way of the Great Stone Shoot.


We were lucky with our weather window. The views that we enjoyed on all our walks were wonderful, particularly the spectacular vista from Scurr Alsadair across the seas to the islands on one side and the Scottish mainland on the other.

From an AIM manager’s point of view, it’s always interesting to observe instructors and guides managing their group, be it a couple of mature men or a bunch of kids. As well as being excellent company, John provided us with an unforgettable adventurous couple of days and further whetted our appetite for further visits to the Isle of Skye.