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Business continuity plans

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.

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 need to develop a continuity plan for your business it is not hard. You can write one yourself just by applying the following advice:

  • 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

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

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