Crisis communication

During a crisis, effective communication is essential. As public bodies, we must be the source of accurate, relevant and timely information. 

On this page:

About crisis communication

Leaders and communicators must set aside time and resources to organise a well-thought-out, strategic plan.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020 has shown the light on the need to communicate in a consistent, clear, and continual way. The COVID-19 report includes insights into the impact of the pandemic on communications professionals and some of the learnings.

COVID-19 Communications Advisory Panel report

Our standards

Emergency Planning Framework

Our practical tools and templates for communication professionals show you how to plan, develop and implement an effective response during a crisis, drawing on best practices across the public sector.

Our resources are focused on 6 critical stages which make up the GCS PRIMER framework for crisis communications.

PRIMER stands for:

  • Plan
  • Rehearse
  • Implement
  • Maintain
  • Evaluate
  • Recover

RESIST 2 Counter Disinformation Toolkit

Our toolkit will help support the dissemination of reliable, truthful information that underpins our democracy.

RESIST stands for:

  • Recognise disinformation
  • Early warning
  • Situational Insight
  • Impact analysis
  • Strategic communication
  • Track outcomes

Crisis Communication Operating Model

Our Crisis Communication Operating Model builds on the excellent work of government communicators in recent years to set out how we’ll prepare, respond and recover from crises. It covers how we’ll: 

  • Prepare – strengthen our resilience and planning 
  • Respond – work together to manage different levels of emergencies and crises 
  • Recover – learn lessons, support our people and strengthen our capability

Learning and resources

Start learning at your own pace and build the skills you need, using our curriculum. You can also engage with our crisis communication blogs and resources.

Resource for team leaders

Read or download the PRIMER emergency planning checklists.


Created by the GCS International team, and used by foreign governments, this training aims to provide a toolkit for government and state communicators to use when responding to a crisis.