PlanB Consulting's COVID-19 Debriefing Workshop


A few weeks ago we put together a survey looking at whether organisations were going to conduct a debrief of their preparation and response to COVID-19. In the next two months they would carry out the following:

  • 44% said that they would conduct a debrief looking at their preparation for COVID-19
  • 56% said they would carry out a debrief looking at their response and recovery from COVID-19

Many clients have said that they are unsure how to conduct a debrief of their response, haven't the time to organise one or are wondering what debrief methodology to use. PlanB Consulting two different options which we could use to debrief members of your organisation, help participants identify key lessons and then produce the findings into a report. By employing a third party, participants are more willing to speak openly and you have an independent organisation writing an unbiased report.

How we can help

We have considerable experience in response planning, COVID debriefing and in writing reports. There are a number of ways we can conduct the debrief but always how we conduct them are tailored to the needs of the client

1. Structured Debrief

The workshop will be conducted in an open and consecutive atmosphere and will look at identifying learning points and areas for improvement. The technique used will be 'Structured Debriefing" which is a tried and tested debriefing process and widely used in the emergency services and business continuity community. The debrief will explore what went well during the response and what can be improved, it then will look at what individuals have learned during the response and conduct a similar analysis. The technique ensures that all those involved in debriefing get a chance to be heard and a range of different views are considered.


  • PlanB Consulting will work with your organisation to identify the appropriate people for the debriefing
  • We will work with you to identify any themes or areas you would like to explore
  • The debrief will not take more than two hours
  • It will take place online allowing people from different parts of the organisation to attend
  • Up to 12 people can take part in the debrief at any one time
  • The deliverable from the debrief will be a report outlining the lessons identified from your organisation's response.

2. Interviews

We can interview individuals or groups of individuals to understand their experience of the pandemic and the lessons learned. Interviews allow mode detailed exploration of the themes and the detail of the response.

Typical questions asked during the debrief could be:

  • Preparedness for the pandemic, preparation for business continuity events and training for such events
  • Initial company response, the changes needed to continue operations
  • Internal and external comms – volume, focus, recurrence.
  • Command, control and decision making – process, members and timeline.
  • Your ongoing response, post-pandemic actions and next steps.


  • PlanB Consulting will work with your organisation to identify what you would like out of the debrief
  • Work with you to identify any themes or areas you would like to explore
  • Agree on a set of questions to be asked at the debrief
  • Identify the individuals or groups of people who will be interviewed
  • Each interview will not take more than an hour and a half. These will be conducted online.
  • PlanB Consulting will write up the report and send it to the client for review
  • The deliverable from the debrief will be a report outlining the lessons identified from your organisation's response.
  • An optional presentation of the report can be conducted.

Why debrief COVID-19 now?

There is now a road map out of lockdown and in the next few months, some normality will be restored. As business continuity professionals to take this opportunity, before the end of the incident to carry out a debrief of your organisations’ response to date, alongside your planning for further relaxation of the restrictions.

Why now is the right time to debrief:

  1. As the pandemic is entering its second year, memories of what happened will have faded and the information and lessons learned may be lost. You may have kept logs of events throughout the pandemic, but it will be more difficult to see them in the context of events occurring over a year ago.
  2. The lockdown was imposed on all organisations and so there was limited decision making for each company in how they responded. If you are a non-essential organisation, you were given no choice but to close down. Once the lockdown is relaxed, there will be much more opportunity to interpret the rules. The first phase of the response is very different in context to the coming phases, so it's worth debriefing on its own.
  3. The preparation before the event will have an impact on how your organisation responded and you may want to explore whether you carried out sufficient preparation prior to the pandemic taking place. Whether or not you responded quickly enough in January and February, when the coronavirus was spreading in China, could also be looked at. Again, looking at your preparation in a year's time will be difficult, with memory and the ability to see the situation in the context of events quickly fading.
  4. There is a temptation to say that this is a unique event and so it is not worth debriefing, as it will never happen again or at least not in the same way. We know from history, even in the 20th Century, that pandemics happen reasonably often and even if another event may not occur in the same way and the government choose a different response strategy, managers should bear in mind the fact that‘ identical crises never happen twice, makes it all the more necessary for managers to acquire the skills of adoption, invasion and a tolerance for uncertainty.


Email us for the cost of a debrief.

If you would like to talk to PlanB Consulting further about conducting your debrief 

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