Aspire Course: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

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Date and Time



8-10 Great George St

G/F Conference Room



United Kingdom

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Registration is 09:15 for a 09:30 start. You will need to bring either your Civil Service pass or another form of photo ID to access the venue. Failure to do so may result in denied access.

You need to make sure you receive a confirmation email. If you do not, use your Eventbrite account to check if you do have a ticket, or confirm by emailing

You need to give GCS at least 2 full working days notice if you need to cancel. You can cancel on both Eventbrite by clicking your account - tickets - upcoming events will be displayed - then click on cancel order or by contacting

By not doing this, you are depriving other GCS colleagues of the opportunity to attend these courses, which are in high demand. Failure to notify GCS of your cancellation may affect your department's allocation of places on Aspire.

*This course counts as a piece of your CPD & 5 CIPR points*

Course Summary:

Government has to deal with issues (problems, mistakes, accusations) and crises (emergencies, tragedies, widespread disruption) on a regular basis. Communications professionals need to be able to tell the two apart, and implement handling strategies rapidly under pressure.

Knowing when to respond and how to frame messages online can help you reach and mobilise your audiences and keep control of hostile situations to protect public safety, as well as the organisation's reputation.

Social media has accelerated not just the pace at which incidents escalate, but also the potential for groups to mobilise online and to do their own detective work. The news gather process has also changes, with more voices available to journalists and a more direct relationship between journalists, politicians, and citizens.

This practical full day course covers both the strategic and tactics needed to handle a range of tricky situations with a focus on digital channels.


This course is designed for a broad audience of professional government communicators including those who manage media relations, work in strategic or internal communications, or are responsible for corporate communications channels.


After completing this course participants will be able to:

  1. Understand how crises issues play out online, as well as the wider strategic opportunity in effective crisis handling

  2. Identify steps that could help head of potential issues and crises before they develop

  3. Produce engaging content for a variety of audiences, channels and outcomes which is effective at different stages of an incident

  4. Confidently handle online criss communications

  5. Integrate online communications in their crisis planning

Course content:

This course will include real life examples from the public private sector as well as some useful models and checklists. In three phases spread through the day participants will be asked to work in teams to handle an unfolding fictional crisis scenario using our private online crisis simulation platform, Crisis90.

Participants will be guided through three stages where they will be able to compare their strategic responses, key messages and tactical approaches.

Understanding the nature of crisis

  • Defining crisis and issues, and the need to manage expectations

  • Identifying and prioritising online influencers

  • When and how to respond online

Crisis respond se in a digital world

  • How crises unfold online: psychological factors, rumours and humour

  • How main steam media use digital tools and channels during crises

  • Rebuttal and verification in a social media world

  • Community resilience and harnessing online support

Crisis preparedness and response

  • The core components of a crisis plan: team roles, checklists and default strategies

  • Political, professional and personal: the civil service role in a crisis

  • Assessing digital vulnerability: reviewing risks and expose for the organisation and key individuals

  • Sustaining a response through recovery

Date and Time


8-10 Great George St

G/F Conference Room



United Kingdom

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