Managing risk is increasingly central to the business of government. An essential part of this is risk communication - communication in terms of openness and transparency, understanding and engaging stakeholders, as well as providing balanced information to allow the public make decisions on how to deal with risk.
Good communication is key. Communication, in terms of engaging with those with an interest in your policy, and having communication plans ready to deal with difficulties. That is one reason why we have put out this guidance - a simple toolkit - to help you plan communication strategies, develop your understanding of risk, improve your knowledge of its likely effects, and give you the confidence to deal with a crisis when things go wrong.
A second reason is that good communication is an essential part of good policy making in its broadest sense - including implementation and operational planning. Openness and inclusiveness, the principles that underpin good communication, are important principles in modern democratic societies. Many of the techniques described here are recognised as relevant to good risk management as well.The guidelines are not intended to give definitive information on every aspect of risk communication. What they do attempt to do is to bring together in one place a wealth of experience from recent incidents and best practice from a range of eminent and authoritative sources. For those who need more in-depth information, there are links to those sources.
The aim of the guidelines, quite simply, is to give you tools to secure some certainty in a complex and uncertain world.