Posts

Is your organisation prepared for a CBD-wide emergency?


The need for CBD stakeholder groups to align and build a coordinated response capability has never been greater.

In 2015, the NSW Government updated the CBD-wide emergency management arrangements for organisations operating in the Sydney and North Sydney CBD.

These changes now demand that all CBD business leaders and property managers understand their new responsibilities – and crucial role – in responding to a city-wide emergency.

To help these groups interpret the new plan, and it’s impact on business, an online resource was launched jointly by Janellis and NSW Police www.cbdresponse.com.au in December 2015.

Leaders are now asking these questions with regards to a CBD emergency:

– Does everyone in the organisation understand their role in a CBD-wide emergency?
– Do we have confidence in our capability to respond?
– Are our plans aligned with the government’s and our property managers’ plans?
– Will we be able to coordinate our efforts in an effective way?
– Are we compliant with the Australian Standards and relevant regulations that underpin our response capability?
– Can we provide assurance to our key stakeholders and regulators that we have it covered?

Emergencies by their nature are challenging to respond to. CBD emergencies have additional levels of complexity including large numbers of people in high-rise buildings and a heavy reliance on transport infrastructure.

Dependencies between businesses, facilities managers, emergency services and property groups all need to be considered. Organisations must be confident that plans are aligned, CBD risks considered and teams responsible have the knowledge, capability and tools they need to be effective in their response. The need for these key CBD stakeholder groups to work together to build a coordinated capability has never been greater.

How can you be assured of your CBD Emergency Management capability?

To help businesses leaders answer their critical questions, build their CBD emergency management capability and provide assurance to key stakeholders Janellis have developed the City Resilience Capability Review for businesses.

The City Resilience Capability Review identifies gaps that require immediate attention, as well as ‘better practice’ approaches that can be applied more broadly across the business.

Our unique approach:

  • builds on investments already made in the areas of emergency management preparedness
  • creates alignment with specific CBD emergency requirements
  • ensures integration across all incident, emergency and crisis management planning; and
  • delivers confidence to all key stakeholders involved on their capability to respond.
CBD Response on multiple devices

CBD Response Digital Platform

We review a collection of relevant documents, conduct field inspections of CBD sites and have one-on-one meetings with nominated stakeholders. We specifically examine and assess the integration of the key requirements within CBD Response against your emergency management plans and procedures.

How have other businesses used this approach to create alignment?

By understanding the requirements set out in CBD Response and initiating a City Resilience Capability Review, businesses have gained confidence and assurance of their response capability in a city-wide emergency scenario.

The reviews have given them a roadmap to ensure that:

  1. Responses will be coordinated;
  2. People will be safe; and
  3. Impacts to the business are minimised.

Why Janellis?

  • Janellis are experts in the niche area of CBD emergency management and city resilience. We have specialised in this area for over 10 years helping complex organisations align, integrate, test and assure their emergency, crisis and organisational resilience capability.
  • In 2006, Janellis first developed the ‘CBD Emergency Management Guidelines for Businesses’ in collaboration with the NSW Government that received a State and National Award from the Attorney General’s Department.
  • In December 2015 Janellis partnered with Dexus Property Group to facilitate the launch of CBD Response with key representatives from NSW Police, NSW Police Media and Transport for NSW, held at the Sydney Chamber of Commerce.  The session was held to raise awareness of the new plans and the tools available for business leaders.
  • Janellis consultants have a diverse range of skills and experience across the spectrum of emergency and crisis management and all have over 15+ years experience in working with complex organisations and government agencies.

For more information on our capability and expertise in this area please follow the links below or contact Jonathan Durnall – Jonathan.durnall@janellis.com.au for more information.

Pass me those crisis glasses

In facilitating crisis management training with executive teams, it would be fair to say that their subject matter expertise, managerial and corporate disciplines are well honed and unquestioned. They are responsible for, and well attuned, in ensuring their ‘day to day’ vertical line management, their ‘pillars of excellence’, are effective and productive.

I have however, on more than one occasion, been asked by the CEO or the COO why then, do we see some of these astute businessmen and women falter and struggle in an environment of simulated crisis planning and response mode? My response is simply; “they just need to change the lens in their glasses.”

When these organisations are in Business As Usual (BAU) mode, these executives manage, lead and make decisions through a lens of governance, approvals, checks and balances, utilising complete and validated information and not dictated (in most instances) by the burden of immediacy of time“They have their business management lenses in.”

However, irrespective of the origin of the crisis, whether internal or external, once declared, the crisis leadership team convenes. Day to day vertical line management transitions into horizontal team management, a ‘beam’ of organisational leadership. The business management lens is removed and the crisis leadership lens is replaced. The ‘crisis response prism of lights’ is now refracted into a spectrum of clarity, objectives, and actions.

Through this new lens, crisis leaders should be able to resist the strong urge to reach into their organisations to provide tactical advice, which we often call ‘leadership compression’. Where before these executives required certainty of information and intelligence, now they will utilise incomplete and dynamic information filtered through the crisis lens to inform key actions and decisions. The 80/20 rule often becomes the principle of the moment. Stakeholders that would be interacted with in normal day to day business are now re-prioritised through this lens into a strategic crisis stakeholder hierarchy where escalation, notification and communication frameworks may be the key to reputational saviour, or catastrophe.

Situations and problems that in a normal environment would be addressed with an obvious and available technical solution, will now, looking through the crisis lens, demand adaptive approaches to problem solving and bold action to create opportunity in what can be an ambiguous environment.

I have found that these are the times, where business executives transitioning into the crisis management team, often have that cognitive difficulty in coping with complex, multiple and competing issues when under pressure. This is not a question of competence, but purely that the human brain is not wired for identifying the truth and pathway amongst all the ‘white noise’ in a time critical period. It needs a special tool; a Decision Support Tool, to help decipher the facts, evaluate the current and potential impact, and develop a strategy to mitigate or control the crisis.

This is where crisis and emergency management professionals can affectionately be termed organisational optometrists. They have been trained, postured and deployed wearing the lens of crisis and emergency response, utilising a decision support tool to execute their plans, bringing normality to uncertainty. These emergency management professionals essentially assist with the ‘fitting’ of crisis lenses.

The trick though is this. Business executives cannot be expected to wear these lenses day in day out in their normal functions and roles, however upon the declaration of a crisis, they should be confident and trained to reach into the top draw, and fit these lenses.


Janellis is an enterprise consulting firm working with leading organisations across many industry sectors and government agencies. We help organisations execute their strategy and are specialists in transformation and change management; organisational resilience; risk and compliance; crisis and emergency management and portfolio and program management.

CBD Response leads the way

Significant events have occurred within Sydney’s CBD Zones in recent years. They have highlighted the difficulties in moving large groups of people, the need for rapid communication and the reliance on key decisions to be made by business leaders.

If you work in the Sydney or North Sydney CBD and you are responsible for the safety of others, you have a role to play in preparing for a major emergency.

New Role for Business Leaders in CBD Emergency Management

In the event of an emergency in NSW a ‘significant and coordinated response’ will require businesses, government, critical infrastructure companies, service providers and the broader community to work together.

Organisations operating within the CBD cannot rely on emergency services agencies and building managers alone to ensure the safety of their staff and the continuity of their business.

In an emergency, business leaders may be faced with incomplete or conflicting information. The complexity of an effective response requires the most experienced and capable leaders to make decisions that could affect the safety of many people and the continuity of their business.

In order to successfully work together business leaders need to be aware of how the police, the other emergency services and the local authority will respond.

New challenges lead to a new plan and revised requirements for business

In June 2015, NSW Police published the new Sydney and North Sydney Central Business Districts Evacuation Management Subplan [Subplan]. You can view the full plan here.

The key changes to the plan are:

More than ever there is a need to ensure that organisations operating within these zones are self-reliant, that they understand the key components and concepts of the Subplan – at an executive level – and that they have exercised and tested their capability.

CBD Response helps organisations get prepared

CBD Response has translated the NSW Government’s plan specifically for businesses operating in the Sydney CBD Zones. It provides all the information and tools organisations need to get prepared and be assured on their readiness and ability to respond to a CBD-wide emergency.

It has been designed for business leaders, business response teams, property managers, building owners plus audit and risk professionals.

If you are unsure of how well aligned your capability is to these guidelines please use the Assurance Assessment Tools to check that your organisation has the ability to respond to a CBD-wide emergency.

If you work in the CBD and are not aware of your role in an emergency or the key concepts within this site we recommend you complete the Assurance Assessment for Business Leaders on that page and forward the results to the most appropriate person within your organisation.

For more information on CBD emergency management reviews and health checks please contact Janellis.