Pandemic planning conference for employers expected to sell out this year

For the 21st time, Business Forums International, (BFI) the risk management group, is hosting the largest gathering in London of private and public sector organisations to address the pressing need to plan on how to weather and survive a pandemic. Over 10,000 companies have attended the series, which has delivered 20 conferences since January 2006.

World financial markets have already been rattled, and, in a move that recalls the 2003 SARS outbreak, China has banned travel for Chinese New Year, usually the biggest human mass migration on the planet.

“There are companies who may not survive a pandemic and planning needs to start now.  Our pandemic planning summits strike a chord with managers, who are evidently struggling to combine the necessary medical, HR, risk mitigation, legal and operational elements into a robust plan,” said Guy Otty, Managing Director of BFI.

Economist Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China unit. “A broader spread of this disease has the potential to disrupt travel, trade and supply chains throughout Asia, with knock-on effects on the world economy, since Asia is now a key driver of global growth.”

Within most organisations, crisis management and contingency plans are designed to address localised, one-off events of a limited duration. A pandemic will have a global impact, could last for many months, and is expected to come in waves during that time. The onset of a pandemic outbreak will affect your overseas suppliers, local utilities and transportation that keeps your business or organisation operational, not to mention the effect it will also have on your staff. The complexity and breadth of this issue challenges traditional approaches and plans that both private and public sector organisations currently have in place.

Delegates for the ‘21st Pandemic Planning Conference for Employers’ on March 5th will be drawn from the leaders in the pharmaceutical, banking, manufacturing, telecoms, transportation and leisure sectors. They will hear from a world–class speaker line-up, including those with direct experience of handling SARS in Canada and Asia Pacific.  Other speakers include the Department of Health, and risk and resilience management experts who advise companies on ensuring they are prepared to survive such threats to business.

The topics to be covered will stress that comprehensive plans must cover seemingly diverse aspect such as legal policy, staff travel, quarantine arrangements, as well as controlling rumour, speculation and scaremongering that can easily rage out of control.

“Companies need to understand, plan and fine-tune the details that will ensure their survival during and after a pandemic” said Elizabeth Smith Conference Director for BFI.