Emergencies - business continuity advice

Could your business make it through a crisis? Incidents such as severe weather, staff absence, failure of a key supplier, fires, floods, malicious damage and many other potential incidents can cause a business significant problems and prevent it from carrying out its usual operations.

Business continuity plan

A business continuity plan can help to prevent operational interruptions to your organisation and enable it to return quickly to a state of ’business as usual’.  Once it has been prepared the business continuity plan must be tested and exercised.

How to write a plan

If you have been inspired to consider developing a continuity plan for your business, write yourself a realistic plan based on the following toolkit:

  • risk assessment - start by looking at the Thames Valley Community Risk register and consider any local risks associated with your geographic location
  • impact analysis - conduct an impact analysis to highlight the key areas that you need to focus on
  • minimise any impacts - consider risk mitigation using the 4 Ts:
    1. Terminate - can you terminate the business activity?
    2. Treat - can you reduce the risk?
    3. Transfer - can you insure against the risk, or outsource the aspect of the business?
    4. Tolerate - continue with the business activity and prepare a plan to minimise any impact to it
  • train your staff - your plan is only as good as those staff that have been trained to use it
  • test your plan - testing your plan is good practice - check phone numbers within the plan regularly as these change often - conduct at least one annual test on the highest risk areas of your business

Preparations - local resilience forum

Each member of the local resilience forum has a business continuity plan, and makes preparations based on Business Continuity Institute guidance.

Training in business continuity management

Many private companies offer business continuity training packages. Nationally, the Emergency Planning College offers a range of courses including business continuity modules.

A useful textbook - Business Continuity For Dummies - has recently been published which may help you create a business continuity plan.

Some local authority areas host free-to-join business continuity forums. Berkshire has the Berkshire Business Continuity Forum.

Berkshire Business Continuity Forum

The Berkshire Business Continuity Forum (BBCF) is a shared forum of private companies and public sector organisations working with Berkshire local authorities. The forum has been established and is designed to help businesses plan how they can successfully survive disaster situations and keep their operations up and running.

The aim of the forum is to promote joint working between businesses in the community allowing them to share expertise and knowledge; and develop shared resilience to disasters in the event of a major emergency affecting Berkshire.

Membership to the forum is free and open to any businesses in the Berkshire Region. For more information about the forum, contact Bracknell Forest Council’s Emergency Planning Officer.

The Chatham House Rule applies to the BBCF.

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