16 June 2015
Chief Exec's Blog - How well do we respond?
After the traumatic event at Alton Towers recently and
the swiftness with which the owners responded issuing a public
apology; offering immediate support to the families of those
injured, the commitment to quickly and sensitively deal with any
compensation and the apparent openness and co-operation with the
Health and Safety Executive's investigation, I found myself
comparing this with the recent coverage of the actions of Thomas
Cook. Two young children died in Corfu in 2006 as a result of
carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in a holiday villa. The
first sign of an apology came nearly a decade after the event and
seemed to be forced by and conducted through the media. Any
question of compensation seemed to be played out in the press, with
apparent disregard for the family.
Looking at the activity on Twitter, it is evident that public
confidence in the actions of the Merlin Group was high and the
reputation of Thomas Cook diminished. Public opinion appears to
entirely correspond with the respective responses to the incidents
These contrasting approaches led me to reflect on how we, as an
organisation, compare in terms of our dealing with and responding
to serious incidents.
How well do we respond? How well do we engage with families and
provide support in the light of an incident? How ready are we to
apologise and take responsibility?
In the past, there may have been times when people have
questioned our response to a serious incident, perceived a lack of
support and doubted our ability to learn and improve.
We must strive to ensure that following any incident, public
perception about the performance of our Trust is in line with Alton
Towers and not that of Thomas Cook.
With our best efforts, continued commitment to openness,
transparency and learning, any serious incident occurring within
out Trust must provide learning, the learning applied and the
system improved as a consequence.