Business continuity advice

Business continuity planning is an important process that makes sure key critical business functions continue, no matter what kind of incident threatens to bring matters to a standstill.

If you run a business, make sure you have a plan.

The council has a duty to promote business continuity to the business and voluntary sectors by encouraging them to make plans for disasters such as floods, fires, power outages and loss of key staff.

The aim is to ensure that local organisations are ready for an emergency that may affect their ability to provide a service to the public. Therefore, if an incident occurred there should be less impact on the local economy and community life will return to normal as quickly as possible.

Information is available to organisations about how to prepare business continuity plans.

We have also produced promotion leaflets and worked with our partner agencies to provide some additional guidance.

The information includes details about what should be included in the business continuity process, such as gathering information about vital procedures, identifying gaps and carrying out staff training. This work will hopefully ensure that local businesses have more chance of survival in the event of a major disruption.

Business continuity management

Business continuity management may be described as arrangements made to ensure that key (critical or mission critical) business functions continue - no matter what kind of incident threatens to bring matters to a standstill.

The process of business continuity management focuses on important functions that need to be protected during a crisis. The assumption is that you will not be able to carry on all aspects of your work in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Business continuity management will benefit your organisation by embedding business continuity planning into the culture of your organisation, you will increase the confidence of staff and customers in your ability to respond and sustain critical service delivery.

Business continuity plans

If your business has a business continuity plan in place, it will minimise the disruption should an unforeseen event occur. To be able to recover quickly, it is essential your staff fully understand what you expect from them. They should be trained in their roles and responsibilities, and the necessary actions required to ensure your critical functions and services suffer minimum disruption.

Without plans and procedures in place, your business will have to rely on an ad-hoc approach, leaving you vulnerable in your ability to ensure your critical services are maintained.  

The involvement of key players in the organisation is essential. They will provide vital information about procedures, identify any gaps, take part in training to respond to incidents and will validate plans. In doing so they will learn more about all of these matters, what they need to do to improve on them and will consider their own development needs.

Where to start

It is for managers to decide what is critical, and to decide what needs to be done to improve the resilience of critical functions. 

Start by:

  • Assessing the status of business continuity planning in your organisation
  • Developing a strategy for managing the risks to your critical functions
  • Producing a business continuity plan which will contain: 
    • Detailed information about steps that are being taken to maintain robust business continuity procedures 
    • The programmes for training and testing the plans 
    • The Recovery Plan - this to enable appropriate responses to be made to an unplanned event 
    • How you intend to conduct exercises to test the plan
  • Ensuring that your contractors and service providers also have business continuity plans