Coronavirus – IRM CEO Statement

Last updated: 18 March 2020

The current coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) presents a challenge for the whole world, and for the risk management profession. We will see how our education, training and professional development has equipped us, and our organisations, to tackle this major risk.

Public health measures are generally focusing on slowing down the spread of the virus and reducing the numbers affected. The aim is to lower the peak impact and push it away from the winter season, initially by detecting and isolating early cases.

More severe measures may be put into place, for example reducing public gatherings, closing schools and restricting public transport, should it be deemed by the Government to be necessary and cost-effective, although such measures would incur significant economic and other costs. As risk professionals we are skilled at framing and understanding these difficult policy choices.

The UK Government’s advice is that organisations should proceed on a business as usual basis while:

  1. Complying with all public health advice in respect of spread of infection
  2. Making reasonable contingency plans to be prepared should the situation escalate

So, that is what we are doing at IRM, in common with other British organisations. We are continuing to recruit students for our distance learning qualifications and provide them with study support. Our group meetings and events will continue, unless local public health restrictions dictate otherwise and many have been moved online.  We are dealing with future training courses on a case by case basis. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond appropriately if things change.

For our members and students, including those outside the UK, our advice is the same. Follow the public health guidance being given locally, but also plan for what might happen next. Look at evidence-based advice from trusted sources like the World Health Organisation or, for the UK, www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public and www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ .

IRM has provided some initial risk management advice for organisations that can be found here: https://www.theirm.org/news/considerations-for-business-and-risk-managers-during-the-coronaviruscovid19-outbreak/

There has never been a more appropriate time to sharpen your risk management skills.

Dr Ian Livsey, IRM Chief Executive

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