Module 4.5 – Criticality Assessment

Criticality assessment considers the importance or urgency of the activity, and weighs the benefits (usually to the beneficiaries of the activity) against the risks (usually to you or your staff).

It can be thought of as a kind of cost-benefit analysis. The process starts with looking at the situation faced by the beneficiaries and the consequences for them of implementing or cancelling the planned activity. Is the program urgent and life-saving, or simply desirable? This assessment is then weighed against the risk to staff, as assessed previously through threat and vulnerability analyses. Criticality assessment can yield three possible outcomes. The first possibility is that the benefits clearly outweigh the risks; in which case implementing the program falls in the category of reasonable risk. The second possibility is that the risks clearly outweigh the benefits; in which case the activity entails unacceptable risk. The third possibility is that the risk can be made acceptable, but only with additional mitigating measures. In this case the manager must select and implement appropriate measures designed to eliminate unnecessary and unacceptable risk.