Business Continuity Management

Good Business Continuity Management (BCM) helps organisations identify their key products and services and the threats to these. Planning and exercising minimises the impact of potential disruption. It also aids in the prompt resumption of service helping to protect market share, reputation and brand.

BCM must be regarded as an integral part of an organisation's normal ongoing management processes. Engaging senior staff is crucial to the success of any major programme because of the influence they have over resource allocation and the culture of an organisation.

Business continuity is as important for small companies as it is for large corporations. Plans need to be simple and effective, comprehensive but designed to the requirements of the organisation.

In the event of an emergency occurring such as significant weather problems, major utilities failure or transportation problems - the council will provide updates on the front page of the website, as well as using other media, such as radio and twitter depending on the emergency.

Understanding your organisation

Before plans can be written you must understand your organisation’s BCM needs. Firstly, it is important to identify the key products and services that the organisation delivers. A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) identifies these critical activities and resources supporting the key products and services and helps identify the impact of a failure of these. Another useful tool is a risk assessment, which helps identify the potential threats to the organisation, and their likelihood.

Developing plans

Good BCM requires both incident management plans and business continuity plans, although these do not necessarily have to be separate documents.

  • Incident management plans allow the organisation to manage the initial impact of an event, for example staff evacuation or media response.
  • The business continuity plan allows the organisation to maintain or recover the delivery of the key products and services that the BIA identified.

Both generic and specific plans may be required.

  • A generic plan is a core plan which enables an organisation to respond to a wide range of possible scenarios, setting out the common elements of the response to any disruption. These elements would include invocation procedures, command and control structures, access to financial resources. Within the framework of the generic plan, specific plans may be required in relation to specific risks, sites or services.
  • Specific plans provide a detailed set of arrangements designed to go beyond the generic arrangements when these are unlikely to prove sufficient.

Exercising plans

Plans cannot be considered reliable until they are exercised and have proved to be workable. Exercising should involve: validating plans, rehearsing key staff; and testing systems which are relied upon to deliver resilience, for example uninterrupted power supply.

The frequency of exercises will depend on the organisation, but should take into account the rate of change, to the organisation or risk profile, and outcomes of previous exercises, if particular weaknesses have been identified and changes made.

Training and awareness

There is a need to train those responsible for implementing BCM, those responsible for acting in the event of disruption and those who will be impacted by the plans. This training and awareness can be delivered in many ways. Those involved in implementing BCM may require extensive training, whereas those with no direct responsibility may simply need to be made aware.

Reviewing and maintaining plans

Organisations should not only put plans in place, but should ensure they are reviewed regularly and kept up to date. Particular attention may need to be paid to:

  • staff changes
  • changes in the organisation's functions or services
  • changes to the organisational structure
  • details of suppliers or contractors
  • changes in the organisations strategic objectives.

Ten point checklist for small business

By following the 10 point checklist below you will help make your business more resilient to unforeseen emergencies, even if you can only manage to take action on some of the tips within this document, you will be more prepared than you possibly are now.

Word document 10 point checklist(DOC) [2 Mb]

Severe Weather

Snow, floods, ice or even a heatwave can impact your business - for instance by preventing staff, suppliers or customers reaching your door.

Community resilience?

Community resilience is about communities and individuals harnessing local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services. Emergencies happen, preparing yourself and your family will make it easier to recover from the impacts of an emergency.

  • Being aware of the risks you might face, and who in your community might need your help, could make your community better prepared to cope with an emergency.
  • Local emergency responders will always have to prioritise those in greatest need during an emergency, especially where life is in danger. During these times, you need to know how to help yourself and those around you.

Further information

Guidance for Businesses

London Prepared - contains a really useful 10 minute checklist to assess how prepared your business is and other useful tools and guidance

Hampshire Prepared - Local information on business continuity

Guidance for Local Communities and Community Groups

How to create a community resilience plan guidance and template

Risk Specific Guidance

Fire information from the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for businesses

Police information on crime reduction for businesses

Cabinet Office information on building a secure business

Contact details

Business development team

Telephone: 01256 845359

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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