The challenges of emergency and crisis communication can be addressed
by identifying critical factors of communication with citizens, news media,
and other response organisations before, during and after crises.


Public authorities nowadays are required to pay much attention to crisis management; this in turn entails the ability to meet the challenge of communication. The Crisis Communication Scorecard is a strategy tool that offers a framework for evaluating and improving crisis communication, and assists in communication planning.

The Crisis Communication Scorecard presents critical factors in the communication of public authorities with stakeholders such as citizens, news media, and other response organisations before, during and after emergencies. It also pays attention to the kind of cooperation in the crisis response network that is crucial in the successful management of complex crisis situations. The response organisation network includes public authorities such as rescue services, the police, health care, and various municipal and state officials.

The form of the Crisis Communication Scorecard is inspired by the ‘balanced scorecard’ of Kaplan and Norton, originally developed for business organisations. It concentrates on key success factors and reveals strong and weak points in performance, thereby enabling the prioritization of resource allocation. The approach of the scorecard is integrative as it connects the tasks of communication with crisis management and provides quality criteria for crisis communication.

The tool can be used in two ways. The first phase, Preparation, is suitable for assessing the crisis preparedness of the organisation and its communication plan. This pre-crisis evaluation takes place, e.g., alongside the annual strategy development process. The second and the third phases are used to evaluate a crisis exercise or to reflect on real-life performance after an emergency situation. The second phase concerns Warning and Crisis response when the situation is at its peak, whereas the last phase, Reconstruction and Evaluation, concerns actions when the situation has calmed down. The tool is divided in three phases for ease of use.

The assessment is conducted by scoring performance indicators, which describe the communication actions taken, on a scale. The electronic software provides an overview of the end results. The evaluation is done as a self-assessment by the organisation itself, preferably by engaging an external auditor.

The user guide further explains how to utilise the scorecard. Below each indicator is an explanation of why it is important. The scorecard is based on theory and empirical research. It has been developed in an international research project funded by the EU and coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.