While is may seem like a basic problem, there are still many varied opinions and inconsistent approaches when it comes to plans, policies and procedures that relate to travel risk management. One of the fundamental variances is a lack of clarity and consistency between plans, policies, procedures, instructions, forms, templates and tools and how these affect the management of risks associated with business travel.
The motivation and compliance for travel risk management plans may originate from corporate culture, legislative compliance, industry standards, codes of conduct, standards or more commercial motivators relating to productivity, efficiency and safety. This should not be confused with Duty of Care and similar references due to their subordinate nature in the hierarchy of laws and statues.
This article will simply and briefly explain what each is, what it represents and and explain how they come together in practice to assist in managing travel risks. The first document that will be explained is a plan.
The term “plan” unfortunately and confusingly can refer two things.
In the first instance and the most pure form it is an over arching document that collates all the information that is required to attain a specific goal, repeatedly. A plan is not a list of specific job actions, these are detailed in procedures, which are referred to in the plan. Effectively the plan is the glue that holds all the specifics together.
The plan generally contains the following elements relating to specific processes:
A plan is effectively a road map to the procedure, instruction, forms, templates and tools that outline the specific actions to be taken to repeatedly attain the goal.
The second item that a plan can refer to is a specific document, developed from procedures, instructions, forms, templates and tools and the overarching plan to manage the travel of a specific individual / group.
Within the plan is the overall driver of the plan, a policy. A policy provides guidance that sets the direction of the organisation in regard to specific topic of the plan. This guidance sets a framework for repeatable results and will be supported by more detailed instructions in the form of plan, additional policies, procedures, instructions, forms, templates and tools.
The policy wording should be based around legislation, risk management and the objectives of the organisation. Policies need to be committed to and endorsed by senior management, clearly written and communicated to all stakeholders that may be affected by the intent of the policy. Policies need to be periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain current.
Effective policies should be no more than two to three pages, at most.
A procedure relates to a specific element or process within the over aching plan. These are detailed and specific and generally have:
Clear and well written procedures increase the reliability that the goal can be achieved repeatedly. They assist with training and allow the base for continual improvement via review and auditing to ensure that the procedure is attaining the desired outcome.
Dependant on the style or size of the organisation instructions can be also be used. Similar to a procedure these are detailed step by step activities that are undertaken to achieve a specific goal repeatedly. They differ from Procedures is that they generally do not have the elements of purpose, scope, etc. Rather they are a bare bones step, by steps guides.
Instructions can also be in the form of flowcharts or pictures that describe the actions are required to be taken. As with procedures, instructions can refer to forms, templates and tools.
Forms, Templates and Tools
Forms, templates and tools are the “…nuts and bolts…” of how to repeatedly achieve the goal. By using well designed and thought out forms specific to the organisations activities, templates and tools the reliability of the result can be increased. They are used organise, track, monitor, control and respond to information required to achieve the goal.
All of the above comes together to form a system which is used to manage a process. If these elements are correctly collated, well written, well communicated and well followed the goal can be repeatedly achieved.
The final element, and arguably the most important part of the system is checking to verifying that the plan, policies, procedures, instructions, forms templates and tools are being used and that they are actually assisting in achieving the goal. This is achieved by feedback from people that use them as well as formal and informal auditing processes.
This system should be supported by a system of document control, used to track audits, document revisions and changes to ensure to ensure that the version that is being used is the most current and the failures or omissions discovered in the previous versions are not repeated, resulting in an improved system and increased reliability.
This element of checking and review is one of the 6 elements which can be used to prove that you are undertaking due diligence to meet your duty of care obligations.
A simplified Travel Risk Management Plan my include, but not limited to:
In this article we addressed plans, policies and procedures to support travel risk management. In particular we identified the hierarchy, content and unified approach to achieving a threat based approach to travel risk management. You should now have a basic benchmark in which to compare your existing plans or develop new ones. Take the concepts contained in this article and apply them immediately to your travel risk management strategy for increased productivity, efficiency and safety.
The content of this article, especially the example Travel Risk Management Plan are generic in nature and should not be considered relevant to any particular company or entity. The advice can not be considered a substitute to a specific plan for your business and travellers. For more information and advice in this area, please Contact Us