Business Continuity Plan

It is important to have a business continuity plan because you do not want to think about the steps when you are in the middle of a major incident you want to have steps already set out.

Overall episode topic or theme

CIRCUMSTANCES

A Business Continuity  Plan will be activated in response to an incident causing significant disruption to normal service delivery/business, particularly the delivery of key/critical activities.  Examples of circumstances triggering activation of a Plan include:

•           Loss of key staff or skills e.g. above normal levels of absenteeism due to illness

•           Loss of critical systems e.g. ICT failure

•           Denial of access, or damage to, facilities e.g. loss of a building through fire 

•           Loss of a key resource e.g. a major supplier vital to the delivery of a key service

*The ‘Incident Management’ phase of your response to a business disruption is often the most crucial; actions taken during this phase of your response can impact on your ability to recover efficiently and with minimum disruption.  

procedures need to be  accurate and fit-for-purpose*

PURPOSE OF THE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT PHASE

•           Protect the safety of staff, visitors and the wider community

•           Protect vital assets e.g. equipment, data, reputation etc

•           Ensure necessary communication takes place

•           Support the Business Continuity phase

•           Support the Recovery and Resumption phase

the plan should cover who will need to communicate and  to whom  who will have overall responsibility for the plan when it is instigated.   There should be phone numbers for instance for  major utilities suppliers in an emergency. 

Insurance companies 

The ‘Business Continuity

phase of your response is concerned with maintaining a level of continuity with your most critical activities. 

It is not necessarily about getting all activities back up and running, only those activities that have been identified as a priority.

Implementing contingency arrangements such as moving to a relocation site or identifying alternative working practises i.e. suspending non critical activities is a key feature of this phase of the response.  It is important that this is aligned to your business needs. 

The ‘Recovery and Resumption’ Stage 

This stage is concerned with recovering ‘business as usual’.  During the previous business continuity phase, only critical activities are maintained, therefore it is likely you will experience a ‘back log’ of work to catch up with.  Now it is about a phased approach building gradually to all activities being recovered with the resumption of ‘normal’ working practises i.e. reoccupation of the usual building, all staff returning to work, or going back to their ‘normal’ roles. 

Testing of plans 

All plans should be tested or exercised to ensure they are valid and that incident responses are rehearsed in a ‘safe’ environment, without the pressure of a ‘real life’ incident.

This ensures that plans will actually work in an incident, but staff will also feel more prepared and comfortable in their business continuity roles. 

Following an exercise it is useful to write a report: contents may include- information about the test i.e. the scenario used, participant information i.e. who was in attendance, general observations, recommendations for how the plan can be improved, suggestions for improving the resilience of the team/service/organisation.

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