Manchester Arena Inquiry Report: Lessons for Everyone? – Part 3

The latest in our series of blogs about lessons that can be identified from Volume 2 of the Report of the Public Inquiry into the Attack on Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017. The following are points raised from the first volume, and  highlights some additional lessons that should be observed in Crisis Management and Incident Management planning.

Cover of Manchester Arena Inquiry Report


The emergency services use the acronym METHANE to aid responders in understanding what needs to be reported in the first instance. It is clear that failings in completing this report and, when it was finally completed, sharing the information, contributed to failings in the emergency services response after the Arena bombings

Emergency Services METHANE acronym
Emergency Services METHANE mnemonic

Whilst these headings may not be the most appropriate for a lot of organisations, something similar will assist Crisis Management Teams in better understanding the situation and potential impact.  Or this reason, when Cambridge Risk Solutions works with clients on their Crisis and Incident Management processes, we always encourage use of a simple aide memoire. 


It is noteworthy that, as is stated within the report, ‘by 22nd May 2017, there were three potentially applicable Operation Plato plans. The process by which those plans were created and managed was unsatisfactory.’

Effective document management is critical to ensure that all Crisis Management Team members are working from the same document.  Advances in document management systems, such as Sharepoint, do assist with maintaining documents, but organisations should take care to ensure ‘a single source of the truth’, particularly where staff have printed documents for personal use.

The report also lambasts the length of some of the plans, stating that one ‘was 225 pages long. The Major Incident Plan was too long to be useful to anyone when responding to the early stages of a Major Incident’.  Again, this is why we work with clients to develop Aide memoires as these are useful and short documents that can be used in the immediate stages of an emergency response. 

The Report also lambasts the ‘window dressing’ for the updates to a plan; this is particularly relevant for those organisations who are racing round trying to update documents immediate prior to a re-certification audit (I am not pointing any fingers….you know who you are!).

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