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What is Duty of Care and why is it so important?

Mar 19, 2015

Is your emergency plan just to hope that there isn’t an emergency?*

*Concur

The global threat level has been steadily rising over the last few years. Not a day seems to go by anymore without acts of terrorism , unpredictable weather, or viral outbreak making it into the news. Consequentially, it is now no longer an option to simply purchase tickets abroad on a whim or send your employees to a far-away land without really considering the potential impact it could have on your travellers. Health and Safety, Risk Management and Duty of Care are now more than moral obligations – they are a legal requirement. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 means that corporations now have to, by law, ensure they are accommodating for a number of potential hazards for their travelling employees. This is of particular importance to ‘the way in which it [the corporation] responds to an emergency circumstance… that is causing, or are likely to cause, serious harm or cause the death of a person’. Now that may sound like a lot of legal spiel, but it might just be the most important spiel you read all day, as it is what will help keep you safe and in communication with the right people who could help you in the event of a crises.

Imagine just for a moment that you’re a manager who has recently sent a dozen of your employees to your European HQ offices for a week. What would you do if there was a bomb threat at a hotel in the same city as your travellers? Or if there was an earthquake? Or an imminent snow storm making its way across the region? How would you contact your employees? Would you know exactly where they were staying, on which days and the telephone number for the hotel? Would you know if the area being evacuated included the conference room where your employees were holding their meeting? Would you be able to communicate with every single one of them at quite literally the click of a button? Having to go through individual Outlook calendars searching frantically for booking confirmation emails or the company HR database to find individual mobile numbers is essentially time that should be spent searching for your employees and ensuring their safety.

These are all important things to be asking yourself, because if you’re not prepared, you may end up finding yourself in a really tricky situation. According to Concur;

corporations could be fined up to 10% of their turnover if risk assessments have not been done on a travel assignment which leads to an accident

So to protect your employees, at the very least, you must guarantee that your travellers have some kind of pre-trip brief in which they are fully aware of the do, don’ts and city no-go areas. They must have the necessary vaccinations before they depart for their trip, and you absolutely must use reputable suppliers and provide safe accommodation. You must even ensure that you’re allowing a little wiggle-room for the impact of the jetlag upon their return. All of this kind of pre-trip risk assessment should be formalised into a travel policy so in the case of a disaster, you should’ve followed protocol. Mid-trip risk management is considerably more difficult for corporations, but thankfully, that’s what you have us for.

So, if you’ve made it this far then you must be wondering where we come in and why this subject is of such importance to us as your travel management company. In recent months, we’ve invested in incredibly innovative and powerful technology called SMARTtrack that could become an industry leader in the field of Risk Management.

It’s a global communications platform that allow us to instantly send an SMS message, email or send a push alert from our office straight to your mobile phone. Using our direct international newsfeed from Risk Line, we’ll alert you of any potential danger nearby that could impact your health and safety of your employees. We’ll also send your affected travellers an SMS message to ensure they don’t need our assistance and to help you fulfil your duty of care requirements. We’ll give them an emergency number to call should they need alternative travel arranged, details of the potential risk, advice, and then using a two-way communications system, we’ll wait for their reply. We’ll alert anyone of flight cancellations to save a wasted journey to the airport, and we’ll also include what other options they have within policy to reach their destination. And what’s really great about it is that the data is all loaded automatically via our SMARTbooker tools and consultants, so every time your organisation makes a booking with us, your itinerary information is synced with our SMARTtrack system and correlated with Risk Line’s threat levels every few minutes.

What we see is a global map in which every icon plotted on the landscape represents a traveller. Simply by using the granular filter tool (flight number, hotel supplier, geographical risk level, political unrest, severe weather, health alerts… the list goes on) or by the automated impact analysis via Risk Line’s newsfeed, we can hover over the icon or export lists of anyone in a certain area who could be affected by a specific event. We’ll have names, contact numbers, dates, itinerary, and any other information that could help us locate your employees within seconds.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – how much will this cost you? Well, that’s the best part of all… It’s a service that we provide entirely free of charge to every single one of our customers. It’s just one of the many services we provide that help you achieve a seamless travel solution.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about this service, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing info@businesstraveldirect.co.uk, or we can always talk you through it on 08453 138701.