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Business Continuity – to me it sounds boring and something that is definitely going to be on the bottom of my to do pile! Why waste time planning for something that is surely never going to happen to us!
Granted Business Continuity is a boring name and surely if it was named Disaster Plan it would certainly get more attention – but it is in fact a very important part of any organisation or service. The aim is that having a plan will limit the operational damage in an incident and will enable us to continue to work in some form. In a fire a business would need to know how many staff work in the building, whether they can work at home, how to contact them and what operations are most important to continue. When you think about it a fire in your favourite Chocolate bar factory could stop you getting that chocolate for months – yet you are unlikely to see any disruption as they will have Business continuity plans in place to ensure they can still for fill there quota some other way.
What is it?
Business Continuity put simply is a plan your organisation should have in some form detailing what your operations are and what you would do if an incident threatened them. It is somewhat more complex than that by going into what each function of your organisation/team is and drilling down on what you would do in response to things like a lack of staff, lack of building/location, lack of IT and lack of transport. But it can be done in a variety of ways that suits you and your organisation making sure that’s its only as complex as it needs to be.
Business Continuity has been around for a lot longer than you think. It originated in the 1970’s and quickly developed further following specific hazards and incidents. Nowadays it is seen as a key part of every large business and organisation with work currently ongoing to encourage all smaller enterprises to think about it. In the simplest form it’s a…. What would you do if…….happened, how would you continue to work? Its importance in some industries can be highlighted from incidents, but when you consider areas such as hospitals and airports, you can imagine the impact if they didn’t have a BC plan that outlined their procedures to cope with the issue.
What can I do?
You can do lots, first of all – do you know if your organisation or team has a plan? If not ask your manager – if they have a process for what they would do if it snowed and no-one could get into work, or if they know what would happen if the IT failed – these things could both be part of a business continuity plan. If you don’t know about your teams plan or don’t have one you should encourage them to tell the team about it or highlight the usefulness of a plan. If you contact your local authority emergency planning leads they will be able to help you get started.
What are the LRF doing?
The LRF comprises of two Local Authorities who’s responsibility it is to offer Business Continuity advice. They actively engage with Care Homes and Schools on the subject and encourage business to do the same. If you need any help or have any questions – just contact their Emergency Planning Teams
Almost every large organisation has a business continuity lead, be that a company or government body, it’s important to everyone. Business Continuity covers things from what to do if the 999 control room loses power or what to do if theres a lighting failure at a London theatre. Business Continuity is everywhere – you just don’t realise it!