What is an incident?

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Definition

An incident in the international standard is defined as “a situation that might be, or could lead to, a disruption, loss, emergency or crisis.” (ISO 22301:2021) 

Effectively it is a situation or event that has the potential to cause disruption to the University.  

This covers a range of events from a power outage to outbreaks of infectious disease, disruptions in the supply chain,  to a cyber attack, and it does not have to occur on campus. 

Incidents have different impacts which will determine the response; the University currently categorises incidents as minor or major.


(An incident is) a situation that might be, or could lead to, a disruption, loss, emergency or crisis.

ISO 22301:2021


Minor incidents

A minor incident at the University is a smaller scale event that has a limited impact and can be managed locally and may involve activating a departmental business continuity plan.

It would usually involve one or a small number of University departments and result in a limited disruption to services, such as a minor power cut or small scale water leak. 

The categorisation of the incident is not focused on its size, but its impacts, such as a large fire in a disused building may be classed as minor; an incident can change from minor to major and vice versa over time.  

Major incidents

A major incident is when a situation threatens to cause serious harm/damage to staff/students, the University community or property; also if it could have a serious impact on the normal operations or reputation of the University. 

It cannot be managed within normal capabilities and will require the implementation of special arrangements by the University.

In these instances there will be a co-ordinated University response, outlined in the Major Incident Plan on the incident management page.

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