Critical Incident Policy

Critical Incident Policy

1.0 Policy Statement

1.1 Ashbourne college is committed to managing any critical incidents (sudden and unexpected incident or sequence of events which causes trauma within our college community and which could overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms) at the college.  This policy has been carefully approved and authorised by Mike Kirby, the Principal of Ashbourne College and is addressed to all members of staff and volunteers.

1.2 Nothing in this policy should affect the ability of any person to contact the emergency services in the event of a critical incident requiring immediate assistance. If you are in any doubt you should dial 999 before contacting the Critical Incident Manager (CIM) or another appropriate member of the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT).

1.3 The CIMT consists of: Health and Safety Department, Director of Studies (DOS), Designated Safeguarding Lead, Head of Academic Administrations and the Principal. Mike Kirby, as the Principal, delegates the management of the CIMT to the DOS who works with the team where required to enforce the policy procedures.

1.4 The Critical incident Management plan is available to parents upon request. It applies to all College activities both on the College site and any College arranged off-site activities such as educational visits, residential trips and expeditions.  The plan covers procedures for such incidents occuring during and outside college hours, including weekends and holidays. It also includes emergency procedures for extended services, such clubs and holiday activities.

2. Aims and objectives

2.1 The aim of this policy is to provide a framework to manage and recover from a Critical Incident (as defined below in Section 3) affecting the College Community and to minimise the risks to the health, safety and welfare of those affected and the damage to property or reputation by identifying:

2.1.1 Those who may be affected by a Critical Incident;

2.1.2 The types of incident and the threat that they may present to the College;

2.1.3 Key activities and assets that may be threatened by a Critical Incident; and

2.1.4  Measures and procedures to manage, investigate (where appropriate), and recover from a Critical Incident and its aftermath.

2.2 Our objectives are to prepare for emergencies, by an ongoing process involving risk assessment, planning, training, exercises and reviewing of the Critical Incident Management Plan and also to consult members of the Ashbourne community to gain their involvement and support.

3. Critical Incident(s)

3.1 A Critical Incident is a sudden or unexpected single incident or a sequence of incidents or events which cause, or are likely to result in:

3.1.1 Injury, harm or illness to pupils, staff, or anyone else affected by the College’s activities;

3.1.2  Damage to College property or reputation;

3.1.3 Serious disruption to the running of the College or College’s activities;

3.1.4 Intervention by the police or regulatory authorities; and

3.1.5 Adverse media attention.

3.2 Examples of Critical Incidents may include, but are not restricted to the following:

3.2.1 An accident, injury, illness or death of a pupil, staff member or anyone else affected by the College’s activities;

3.2.2 An outbreak of illness or contagious disease on the College premises or affecting pupils or staff;

3.2.3 Missing or abducted pupil(s) and hostage situations;

3.2.4 Security breaches, intruder access or vandalism;

3.2.5 Criminal or terrorist acts;

3.2.6 Assaults on or acts of violence towards pupils or staff members or anyone else affected by the College’s activities;

3.2.7 A fire, arson attack, explosion, bomb scare, chemical leak, the discovery of a hazardous substances on the College site;

3.2.8 Natural disasters e.g. flooding or storm damage;

3.2.9 An unplanned evacuation of the College’s premises;

3.2.10 Damage to College property or infrastructure including failure of services (gas, electricity, water etc) or computer systems;

3.2.11 Loss of key personnel or strike action; and

3.2.12 Adverse media attention.

4.0 Child protection incidents

For the avoidance of doubt every complaint of or suspicion of abuse (whether by an adult or another pupil) will be taken seriously and will be dealt with under the terms of the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and not under the terms of this Policy

5.0 Responsibilities

The Critical Incident Management Team consists of senior members of the College’s management team and include those listed below:

5.1 The Critical Incident Manager is Lee Kirby, who is responsible for the overall command and management of the incident and the CIMT;

5.2 The Head of Academic Administration is Hien Nguyen – in her role within this team she will be referred to as the Critical Incidence Communications Officer (CICO). Hien Nguyen is responsible for liaising with and briefing key personnel, the media and monitoring media response. Hien Nguyen is also responsible to provide support, assistance and information to parents, relatives and anyone else affected by the Critical Incident. Furthermore the Head of Academic Administration (Hien Nguyen) is also responsible for assisting the CIM (Lee Kirby) in their roles and in any other business relating to this;

5.3 The personal tutors are responsible for providing support, assistance and information to pupils affected by the Critical Incident and will liaise with medical staff, hospitals etc where appropriate;

5.4 The Designated Safeguarding Lead is responsible for matters relating to child protection, safeguarding and welfare and will provide support assistance information to staff and liaise with medical staff where appropriate;

5.5 The Facilities Manager Fabio Carpene is responsible for managing issues relating to the College site, premises and property and liaising with regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the local authority and the Environment Agency; and

5.6 The Incident Administrator (Deputy Head of Administration, Georgina Prichard) is responsible for assisting the CIM and the CICO in their roles, taking minutes at meetings, keeping records and preparing communication (where required).

6.0 CIMT emergency contact list


Emergency Services


Police (non urgent enquiries)


Critical Incident Manager
Lee Kirby
020 7937 3858 ext 227

Designated Safeguarding Lead
Frances Burns
07958 781 463

Critical Incidents Communications  Officer
Hien Nguyen
020 7937 3858 ext 241

Facilities Manager
Fabio Carpene
020 7937 3858 ext 255


7.0 Emergency procedure in the event of a Critical Incident

7.1 In the event of a Critical Incident staff should:

7.1.1 Assess the nature and extent of the Critical Incident;

7.1.2 Take immediate action to safeguard themselves and anyone else affected;

7.1.3 Summon emergency assistance and / or medical assistance (if required); and

7.1.4 Contact the CIM or another member of the CIMT as soon as possible.

8.0 Managing the incident

8.1 The CIM will determine whether the Critical Incident requires a meeting of the full CIMT, and if not will call upon key members of the CIMT, as required.

8.2 Once established, the CIMT will take charge of the Critical Incident.

8.3 The CIMT will be assembled as soon as reasonably practicable in the Critical Incident Operations Room as follows:

On-site operations room
The Director of Studies Office, Old Court Place;

Middle School Office, Young Street


8.4 The CIMT will obtain accurate information about the Critical Incident as soon as possible and will seek to establish:

8.4.1 The nature of the incident;

8.4.2 When, where and how the incident occurred;

8.4.3 Who has been affected and who might be affected;

8.4.4 The extent of casualties or damage caused; and

8.4.5 The involvement of third parties including emergency services, regulators etc.

8.5 The CIMT will:

8.5.1 Assess ongoing risks and take immediate steps to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of pupils, staff or anyone else affected by the Critical Incident;

8.5.2 Make adequate arrangements to liaise with the emergency services, regulators, investigators and outside agencies, as required;

8.5.3 Ensure that proper consideration is given to the disclosure of College documents to external sources and, if so authorised, ensure that copies of the latest versions of any such documents are provided and that separate copies of any disclosed documents are retained;

8.5.4 Ensure that the emergency services are provided with up to date information including site plans, asbestos registers, chemical storage areas etc;

8.5.5 Take immediate steps to minimise disruption, in so far as is possible, to the College, pupils, staff members, parents or anyone else affected by the Critical Incident;

8.5.6 Provide information to and arrange support for and welfare assistance to pupils, staff, or anyone affected by the Critical Incident, to include follow up support as appropriate;

8.5.7 Make adequate arrangements to liaise with parents, relatives or anyone else affected by the Critical Incident;

8.5.8 Ensure that the College acts in a lawful manner and take steps to protect and preserve its legal position and where necessary seek legal advice from the College’s solicitors;

8.5.9 Contact the College’s insurers where necessary, obtain confirmation of cover and obtain their approval / agreement to proposed actions;

8.5.10 Ensure that adverse publicity is minimised and that all external enquiries are handled by the Communications Officer or other nominated personnel;

8.5.11 Make adequate arrangements to communicate with and where necessary provide a controlled response to the press and media;

8.5.12 Ensure that all appropriate site-evacuation and health and safety procedures have been followed;

8.5.13 Ensure that the College premises and property are secure following the Critical Incident; and

8.5.14 Activate contingency plans and / or interim measures in order to safeguard continuity of educational provision, where possible.

9.0 Communicating with the media

9.1 Under no circumstances should staff (other than the CICO) make any comment to the media.

9.2 All requests for information from the media should be referred to the Communications Officer or other nominated personnel.

9.3 The Communications Officer or other nominated personnel will liaise with the College’s solicitors and prepare a suitable press statement, if so advised.

10.0  Reporting and record keeping

The CIMT will be responsible for ensuring that the College complies with its reporting and record keeping obligations in relation to the Critical Incident. The CIM will work with the CICO and the Critical Incidents Administrator to ensure that this happens.

10.1 Statutory reporting obligations:

10.1.1 Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The College is legally required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1471) (RIDDOR) to report the following to the HSE:

(a) Accidents involving staff

Work related accidents resulting in death or ‘specified’ injury (including as a result of physical violence) must be reported immediately (major injury examples: any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia; amputation); or

Work related accidents which prevent the injured person from continuing with normal work for more than seven days; or

Cases of work related diseases that a doctor notifies the College of (for example: certain poisonings; lung diseases; infections such as tuberculosis or hepatitis; occupational cancer); or

Certain dangerous occurrences (near misses – reportable examples: bursting of closed pipes; electrical short circuit causing fire; accidental release of any substance that may cause injury to health).

(b) Accidents Involving Pupils or Visitors

Accidents where the person is killed or is taken from the site of the accident to hospital and where the accident arises out of or in connection with:

Any college activity (on or off the premises);

The way a college activity has been organised or managed (e.g. the supervision of a field trip);

Equipment, machinery or substances; and

The design or condition of the premises.

10.1.2 Notifiable Diseases

If anyone at the College is known or suspected to be suffering from disease which is classified as a notifiable disease, and / or in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner has an infection and / or is contaminated in a manner which could present significant harm to human health (as set out in the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/659)), the CIMT should ensure that a report is made by the proper officer at the relevant local authority.

10.1.3 Others:

  1. The CIMT will also consider whether the College is required to report the Critical Incident to any other regulatory body or organisation.
  2. If the CIMT has any doubt about when or how to report a Critical Incident, or whether or not it should be reported, the College’s solicitors should be contacted for further advice.

10.2 Record keeping

10.2.1 Following a Critical Incident, the College will take all reasonable steps to collect and preserve relevant evidence and documentation, this will be stored on the critical incident database.

10.2.2 The College will not keep evidence and documentation containing personal information, which has been collated as a result of a Critical Incident for any longer than is reasonably necessary in compliance with the Data

10.2.3 Protection Act 1998 obligations and any subsequent amendments and in addition the UK-centric Data Protection Act 2018 that will work alongside the European legislation.

10.2.4 Where there is a risk of litigation, enforcement action or other proceedings, against or on behalf of the College, documents (which include electronic documents) will be retained for at least six years unless:

  1. The Critical Incident involved a pupil or anyone else who was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, in which case documentation will be retained at least until that person’s 24th birthday; or
  2. The Critical Incident may have resulted in exposure to a substance which may be hazardous to health, such as asbestos, and / or there is a risk that any person may develop an occupational disease or illness or work-related medical condition, in which case records should be retained for a minimum of 40 years.

11. Internal investigations

11.1 An appropriate member of the CIMT will be nominated to investigate the Critical Incident if the CIMT consider that an investigation is necessary.

11.2 Such investigations may be required in order to discover the immediate and / or root causes of a Critical Incident to prevent a recurrence, to discipline employees or pupils, to brief lawyers for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or to aid litigation.

11.3 Where appropriate, the CIMT will seek legal advice from the College’s solicitors before commencing an internal investigation.

11.4 The scope of an internal investigation may be restricted to fact-finding and may not make any finding of fault or allocation of blame.

11.5 The CIMT will not sanction any internal investigation which may prejudice the investigations of outside agencies.

11.6 No admission of liability on the College’s behalf should be made without legal advice and / or prior agreement from insurers.

12. Follow-up and review and monitoring

12.1 Where possible, the College will make all necessary arrangements to ensure the continuing provision of education for pupils.

12.2 The College will also consider arrangements for support and follow-up for staff and pupils who have been affected by Critical Incident(s), such as counselling.

12.3 Following a Critical Incident, this policy, and other triggered policies and procedures and / or relevant risk assessments will be reviewed.

12.4 In any event, this policy will be regularly reviewed and records of relevant risk assessments and accidents will be regularly monitored by the Head or another senior member of the CIMT, and updated as necessary.

13. Related Policies.

As previously stated, this policy is to be read in conjunction with other policies. Other policies, such as those listed below, will go into more detail on reactive steps, policy and procedure for the subsidiaries of what could be considered a critical incident.

Appendix 1: Action to be taken in the event of Critical incident.

Initial action (all staff)

  • Identify the nature and seriousness of the Critical Incident
  • Follow emergency procedure at the scene and take immediate steps to safeguard anyone affected
  • Contact the emergency services (if appropriate)
  • Contact the CIM or a member of the CIMT.

Follow up action (CIMT)

  • Gather and brief appropriate members of the CIMT
  • Confirm allocation of responsibilities
  • Set up incident management room and
  • Locate key documentation.

Establish an immediate response strategy

  • Does the College need to be closed?
  • Should restrictions or quarantines be imposed on staff and pupil movements?
  • Liaise with emergency services.

Information dissemination

  • Brief staff
  • Contact the families of those affected
  • Are there any siblings or a boy / girl friend at the College?
  • Decide on best method of communication – telephone / email / text / announcement etc

Inform pupils

  • Decide where and when to gather pupils for an announcement
  • Decide who should deliver information
  • Identify key members of staff to answer queries / provide support.

Contact the remaining parents / guardians

  • Decide on the timing and content of information release
  • Consider best way to deal with media interest
  • Prepare suitable press statement
  • Brief staff on what to do if they are contacted directly.

Other matters

  • Consider reporting requirements
  • Debrief staff and pupils
  • Arrange for support and follow up for staff and pupils
  • Review all triggered policies and procedures.
  • Liaise with Government Agencies related to the Incident where applicable
Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2022
Effective date of the policy September 2022
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2023
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