12. Remote support for information management

There are times when adequate information capacity cannot be put in place in the country or location of the emergency operations. This may be because of access restrictions, damage to telecommunications infrastructure or political sensitivities. In these cases, systems may need to be put in place to allow remote assistance with information management. Remote assistance for information management can include:

  • Acting as a central contact point for receiving and channelling information requests on behalf of the CO when communications are limited;
  • Preparing sitreps and other written reports on behalf of the CO based on verbal information received by phone;
  • Attending meetings in coordination hubs outside of the country, and reporting information back to the CO or emergency operations.

In these cases, the following considerations apply:

  • Remote support is a poor substitute for effective information management capacity at the emergency location and should only be used as an option of last resort;
  • Clear lines of communication between the CO, the remote support for information management and other stakeholders must be put in place, or it can result in confusion and mixed lines of communication;
  • In some cases, the Country Director may not be able to approve the sitreps or other key information (for example, talking points). In these cases, the Lead Member may approve on their behalf. Approval authority in these cases should be clarified by the CCG at the outset of the emergency;
  • Remote support is only a partial solution, and the CO must still put in place effective systems for internal information management to ensure that the remotely located IMO receives adequate and accurate information;
  • Plans must be put in place to install adequate capacity in the country or site of emergency operations as soon as possible;
  • The remotely located IMO can assist the CO to provide adequate and appropriate information by ensuring they have the right formats and tools.