Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. Even a small disruption such as a power cut can affect normal operation of an organisation.
Risks could be from an external source such as a (eg power outage, severe weather/ flooding) or from within an organisation (e.g. system failure, loss of key staff).
Business continuity is about thinking ahead, planning for any disruption and ensuring alternative arrangements are in place to enable an organisation to recover more quickly.
Have you considered how you would manage if you lost any of the following:
• loss of staff
• loss of premises
• loss of technology
• loss of your suppliers
• loss of customers
• loss of data
Explore the following headings about how a business can help to manage risks and ensure continuity and recovery in the event of a disruption.
Threats to the way organisations carry out their business have been continually changing and will continue to do so in the future. It's the responsibility of the organisation to consider these threats and put in place a strategy to help mitigate the threats.
A Business Continuity Plan provides a framework for an organisation to recover in the event of any disruption.
Emergencies do not have a timeframe or a set schedule, they can be a slow burn emergency like pandemic flu, or more instant like a flood or power failure. It's important as a business that you recognise early on which time-frame your response may be required for.
Why is it important to have a business continuity plan?
A Business Continuity Plan provides guidance, checklists and contact details which would be a benefit for the organisations recovery following a disruption.
For further guidance on writing a business continuity plan see the Business Continuity Plan section.
Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, category 1 responders are required to seek assurance from providers that they have resilience in place.
Creating a plan
Having explored the importance and advantages of planning in advance to an emergency, consider putting together a business continuity plan, an emergency pack, as well as training your staff and testing your response.
The following is a summary of the five key steps to help your organisation create a business continuity plan
• know your business
• assess the risk
• develop the strategy
• develop and keep developing the plan
• rehearsal and staff training
See further information for suggested templates.
Responding to demand from authorities CLASP network are offering a new service, of workshops on climate resilient business for SMEs.
Through these workshops CLASP introduce SMEs in to the Business Resilience Healthcheck and helping them carry out an online audit of their business.
CLASP have also refreshed their "Weathering the Storm" guide for SMEs. The refreshed guide has been funded by Liverpool City Council but is applicable to all areas.
This guide explores:
• What changes we might see to our climate
• What impacts these can have on businesses
• Ways to protect businesses from these impacts
• Opportunities to benefit from climate changes
• Resources and tools to assess and increase business resilience
• Case studies from SMEs in Cheshire and Liverpool City Region
The guide also includes a simple 2 page checklist to assist SMEs with assessing their climate resilience and identifying actions to take.
To find out more and access the "Weathering the Storm" guide see CLASP Website (External Link)
As part of your plan activation, consider the importance of having prepared an grab bag. The following are suggestions to include in the pack:
Contact details, including your employees, customer and supplier details, emergency glaziers and building contractors, utility companies, local authority.
Your business continuity plan.
Building site plan, including location of gas, electricity and water shut off points.
Computer back ups, such as USB memory sticks or flash drives.
Torch and spare batteries.
Message pads and flip chart.
General stationery (pens, paper etc).
Disposable camera (useful for recording evidence in an insurance claim).
Remember to store this pack safely and easily accessible, and that the items are checked quarterly.
Considerations when you respond
You may now be in the middle of an emergency, with the members of your management team to discuss ways to help your organisation to recover from the disruption.
Consider the following:
• Start a log of events, decisions and actions
• Activate your business continuity plan
• Staff - who will be required? What will they do?
• Premises - where can you relocate to
• Providers - what do you need? Where can you get it from?
• Services and products - what is key to your business?
• Communications - public image and stakeholders
Considerations for your recovery process
Look at your Business Continuity Plan for the requirements that you may need to help your organisation to recover quickly. For example:
• Moving to another location
• Alternative suppliers
• Extra staff
It's important to meet with all personnel and managers that were involved in the management of the major incident. To debrief on the disruption and look at what could be improved, such as:
• Communications - internally with your staff and externally with customers and stakeholders.
• Resilience of the organisation
• Business continuity plan
• Review your insurance
• Clean-up procedures
• Administrative issues
Incorporate you lessons learnt into your business continuity plan. If you haven't got a plan, consider developing a plan with these lessons.