Securewest | News
22 Oct 2018

Travel Risk Management for the Higher Education Sector

7 STEPS to help your university mitigate risks


In an ever-changing world, the risks faced by international travellers are constantly evolving too. The majority of universities now have an extensive overseas travel programme and duty of care is no longer an ethical concern but a legal obligation. The risks of working in regions of conflict or natural disaster and the threats of targeted attacks and terrorism are increasingly unpredictable. While most trips are usually incident free, it’s still important to put the necessary measures in place to protect your staff, students, organisation and reputation.

A couple of recently reported incidents including two teachers killed in Kenya and a British student held in UAE on 'spying charges' have brought the global risks in the higher education sector to the attention of the international media.

As a leading global risk management company that has been providing risk management solutions, consultancy services and training for over 30 years we have put together seven key steps to help your organisation mitigate risks:


STEP ONE - Review your existing policies and procedures

Existing policies and procedures should be regularly reviewed and evaluated to ensure they are up to date, relevant and meet the requirements of legislation, statutory requirements and best practice.


STEP TWO - Identify gaps

Many organisations believe they are covered by their insurance company however this is a reactive strategy that is often not the case. Insurance providers expect their clients to take reasonable steps to reduce risks and to not simply pay out when a potentially preventable incident occurs. It is important to review at your insurance cover in line with your other policies to identify any gaps in provision.


STEP THREE - Encourage best practice

Safeguarding the security of global travellers is complex. Applying best practice means learning from and through the experience of others. Engage with other organisations about the key ‘Best Practices’ they apply and promote these through your organisation.


STEP FOUR - Go beyond duty of care

As a responsible organisation, you have a duty of care to your employees, students, researchers and volunteer workers. That requires doing the right things to safeguard your people but also to protect your assets and reputation. This means understanding the risks they all face and being able to mitigate those risks where possible. Research has shown that there are many benefits to go beyond duty of care including avoiding negligence further down the line.


STEP FIVE - Research the regions you are travelling to

It is essential to research the countries and areas you are planning to travel to as to gain an accurate real-time picture. Regional threat and risk assessments help to identify threats, highlight the level of risk and make mitigation recommendations.


STEP SIX - Assess people you have travelling

Assessing the risk to the individual or group is an integral part of the preparing stage, and can determine the advice and support given to the traveller. It identifies the risks that a traveller might be exposed to and gives recommendations on how to manage them. By providing pre-travel training and briefings the level of risks can be reduced.

There are different types of risks that need to be considered including traveller profile (i.e. age, gender, sexual orientation, cultural beliefs and medical history etc.), activity-related risks (i.e. what task will they be undertaken overseas?), risk tolerance and experience (i.e. knowledge, if they’ve previously travelled to the country).


STEP SEVEN - Support your staff and students on their travels

When things do wrong you need to be able to respond quickly and effectively.  Measures need to be put in place so you know exactly where your travellers are, you can communicate with them and provide fast assistance. 


We understand the challenges faced by Travel Managers in managing risk for students, academics and staff.   Our experience working within the Higher Education Sector has shown that a more flexible bespoke approach is required rather than the “one size fits all approach”. We are able to help develop and review policies, highlight gaps, promote best practice, support your duty of care obligations, provide travel risk advisory services, produce country assessments and traveller risk reports. This can be for a one-off project, a programme of visits or on a larger scale across your entire university.

If your organisation is looking for a travel risk management solution we have an innovative platform called Sphere. Sphere can link to your Travel Management Company and can integrate with your travel itineraries and updates allowing you to control your international travel in real-time. Essentially it provides pre-travel training, planning & intelligence, itinerary and real time tracking, check in, SOS & live incident alerts and 24/7/365 response and assistance.

Sphere helps organisations PREPARE, SAFEGUARD and RESPOND should the need arise, giving your staff and students easy access to the care and advice they need when travelling.

Our services can be tailored to meet any organisation’s size, needs, existing capabilities and budget for further information contact us:

t. +44 (0)1548 856001 e.