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Crisis communications Ruth Collier, Head of Press & Information Office Susannah Wintersgill, Head of Internal Communications Public Affairs Directorate.

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Presentation on theme: "Crisis communications Ruth Collier, Head of Press & Information Office Susannah Wintersgill, Head of Internal Communications Public Affairs Directorate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crisis communications Ruth Collier, Head of Press & Information Office Susannah Wintersgill, Head of Internal Communications Public Affairs Directorate 23 May 2013 Page 1

2 Agenda Protecting the University’s reputation Managing local communications in a crisis Group exercise Questions

3 PROTECTING THE UNIVERSITY’S REPUTATION

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7 How big is the true pool of potential black applicants? Are those with the grades applying? Are they getting in?

8 June 2010: number crunching In 2007, around 23% of all white students gained AAA or better, and a similar proportion of BME students overall gained AAA. However, among black students, only 9.6% gained AAA. In numbers: more than 32,000 UK white students got three As or better at A-level excluding General Studies in 2010, compared to only 795 black students Source: Cambridge Assessments and UCAS data

9 June 2010: number crunching In 2010, more than 32,000 UK white students got three As or better at A-level excluding General Studies and around 29.2% of them applied to Oxford; 795 black students got three As or better at A-level excluding General Studies, and more than 40% of them applied to Oxford. Source: UCAS and Oxford University data

10 June 2010: number crunching Oxford’s three most competitive courses (E&M, Medicine and Maths) account for 44% of all black applicants – compared to just 17% of all white applicants 28.8% of all black applicants for 2009 applied for Medicine, compared to just 7% of all white applicants 10.4% of all black applicants for 2009 applied for Economics & Management, compared to just 3.6% of white applicants

11 Friday 3 December 2010

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13 21 Oxbridge colleges made no offers to black British undergraduates for the year beginning 2009 Merton College, Oxford, has not admitted a black British undergraduate for the five years leading to and including 2009 One British undergraduate of black Caribbean ethnicity was admitted to Oxford for entry 2009

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15 Reputational threat: what to do Know the truth Establish the media agenda What is the damaging headline? What’s the evidence for that headline? Is this evidence sound? If not, show it If yes, give any balance or mitigation If there is no balance, apologise Rebuttal

16 Tuesday 7 December 2010

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18 ‘A spokeswoman for Oxford said: “Black students apply disproportionately for the most oversubscribed subjects, contributing to a lower than average success rate for the group as a whole: 44% of all black applicants apply for Oxford's three most oversubscribed subjects, compared with just 17% of all white applicants. That means nearly half of black applicants are applying for the same three subjects … the three toughest subjects to get places in. Those subjects are economics and management, medicine, and maths. This goes a very long way towards explaining the group's overall lower success rate.”’

19 ‘21 Oxbridge colleges did not take black students’ - Guardian ‘The Oxbridge whitewash’ – Guardian ‘Black students failing to win Oxbridge places’ – The Times ‘Whitewash: Twenty-one Oxbridge colleges took no black students last year’ – Daily Mail ‘Oxford college fails to take black students’ – Daily Express ‘‘Racist shame’ of our top two universities’ – Daily Express ‘

20 Same day: Tuesday 7 December

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22 7-8 December 2010 ‘Telling lies about Oxbridge’ – Virtual Economics blog “It advances neither the cause of improving the country's education system nor that of investigative journalism to publish David Lammy's data-mining exercise, in which he put forward his transparent anti- Oxbridge agenda by picking out a handful of superficially unflattering data points” ‘Don’t blame Oxford’ – The Times “There are times when as a black student at Oxford you do feel a bit unusual. But I’ve never felt any discrimination at the university... Oxford has a reputation for being inaccessible, but people don’t realise how much it is doing to try to change that. It has the best bursary scheme in the country, it has made contact with most sixth forms and it is putting lots of money into widening access to pupils from less fortunate backgrounds.”

23 ‘Is Oxford University Racist?’ – The Spectator “…as Oxford points out, 44% of ethnic minority students applied to Oxford's most over-subscribed courses. 28.8% of black applicants wanted to read medicine, for instance, and only 12% of all medicine applicants were successful. (By contrast, 41% of classics and 40% of chemistry applicants won places.) So it may be that the average black student has a lower than average chance of admission because of factors that have little to nothing to do with race, ethnicity or skin colour.” ‘Oxford and Cambridge Say Critic's Data Misleading’ – Wall Street Journal ‘No black academic staff at Cambridge? What about this guy?’ – Fleet Street Blues blog ‘Guardian claims Cambridge has no black academic staff. Why didn't they bother to check?’ – Telegraph blog

24 Thursday 9 December 2010

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27 Friday 10 December 2010

28 Reputational threat: what to do Know the truth Establish the media agenda What is the damaging headline? What’s the evidence for that headline? Is this evidence sound? If not, show it If yes, give any balance or mitigation If there is no balance, apologise Rebuttal

29 Ongoing rebuttal ‘Exclusion isn't in interests of world-class universities’ – letter from Director of Undergraduate Admissions in the Daily Express (10 December) ‘The real crisis over black students’ – letter from Director of Undergraduate Admissions in the Evening Standard (10 December) ‘Oxford’s intake’ – letter from Director of Undergraduate Admissions in the Daily Mail (14 December) ‘Our education system's great shame’ – letter from tutor in philosophy at Balliol in the Guardian (14 December) Corrections – International Herald Tribune (15 December)

30 11 April 2011

31 April 30, 2015 Page 31

32 “I saw figures the other day that showed that only one black person went to Oxford last year. I think that is disgraceful, we have got to do better than that.”

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36 ‘Oxford's record on black students 'disgraceful', says Cameron’ – the Guardian ‘Cameron brands 'all-white' Oxford a disgrace’ – Daily Telegraph ‘Cameron in row with Oxford over black students’ – The Independent ‘Oxford hits back at race claim by Cameron’ – Financial Times ‘Oxford University: PM incorrect on black student intake’ – BBC News online ‘Cameron In Race Row With Oxford University’ – Sky News online

37 ‘Cameron's 'solitary black' gaffe infuriates Oxford’ – The Times ‘Furore over Cameron race attack on Oxford’ – Daily Mail ‘Cameron blunder on ethnic students’ – Daily Express ‘Black student gaffe’ – Daily Mirror ‘David Cameron says only one black person went to Oxford last year. Actually, at least 20 did. Didn't Oxford teach him to check his facts?’ – Telegraph blog ‘Cameron's 'breathtaking hypocrisy' in race row’ – The Independent ‘David Cameron misfires on student access’ – The Guardian ‘Prime Minister’s inaccurate remarks on Oxford admissions prompt sharp reply’ – Chronicle of Higher Education ‘Cameron's Oxbridge too far’ – Daily Mail ‘Impaled on an Oxford spire’ – The Independent ‘Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story’ – The Independent ‘Dreaming spires? It's No. 10 that's out of touch’ – Mail on Sunday

38 MANAGING LOCAL COMMUNICATIONS

39 1. BE PREPARED

40 Develop a crisis communications strategy Identify key contacts, e.g. Press Office, Security Services Identify audiences Identify channels Ensure people can access / are trained to use channels Assign and agree responsibilities Agree call-out and cascade process Agree simple sign-off process Identify your spokesperson – do they need media training? Create checklists for key roles Review the plan regularly

41 Develop a crisis ‘kit’ Checklists for individual roles List of key contacts with phone numbers (inc out of hours) Dedicated emergency phone line / email account Draft ‘Emergency’ page on your intranet Draft ‘incident update’ email template Simple instructions for sending out communications Documents stored on shared drive and memory stick Log sheets for recording decisions / actions

42 2. DURING THE CRISIS

43 Uncertainty

44 DON’T PANIC

45 Your role is to... React quickly, but not hastily Act proportionately Prioritise Provide reassurance Provide regular and timely updates Correct misinformation and scotch rumours But avoid the temptation to respond to everything Contain the situation, not inflame it Help return things to business as usual

46 Things to consider during a crisis Increase frequency of communications Increase face-to-face communications Have a ‘single source of the truth’: key facts and messages Use a single authoritative spokesperson Log decisions made / communications sent out Evaluate how communications are being received Review people’s needs and revise communications accordingly

47 LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION

48 ‘ This is a tough time for millions of people. But America is tougher.’

49 ‘I would like my life back.’

50 The role of the leader Provides direction and reassurance throughout the crisis Instils confidence that the situation is being managed well Is honest and transparent; not afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ Communicates regularly and in a timely way Listens to people’s concerns

51 3. RECOVERY PERIOD

52 Returning to business as usual Acknowledge difficulties and stress Ensure people are thanked People readjust at different speeds – consider people’s emotional as well as intellectual needs Review handling of the situation – lessons learned

53 In summary Before Develop a crisis communications strategy and kit During Don’t panic Stick to your crisis plan – don’t respond to everything Resist ‘tit-for-tat’ communications – it can prolong and fuel the crisis Use strong, consistent leadership communications After Manage the transition between crisis and business as usual

54 GROUP EXERCISE


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