Business Continuity. Introduction. Safer Business - Better Health. Issue date - December 2007

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1 Business Continuity

2 Business Continuity Safer Business - Better Health Issue date - December 2007 Introduction Would your business survive if it was affected by a major incident or circumstances beyond your control? Recent examples of incidents in the UK that affected businesses include: Carlisle floods - January 2005 Most people believe that their business would survive, however this is very often not the case. There have been many high profile incidents that have occurred in the last few years that have affected businesses and some examples are highlighted opposite. And more locally: London transport bombings July 2005 Buncefield Oil Depot fire December 2005 Logtek fire, Pinchbeck, Spalding - July 2006 All of these events occurred with no or very little warning and affected businesses across a wide area for a considerable time while the clean-up operations and investigations were completed. The immediate effects on businesses included loss of physical assets such as buildings, stock and vehicles, the loss of custom, the loss of vital records and the loss of communications. Sadly, in the case of the London bombings, people also died and 1

3 were seriously injured and/or traumatised which aside from the obvious effect on the victims, friends and family, had a huge impact on a very large number of businesses who lost key personnel either permanently or temporarily. Examples of uncontrollable circumstances include: Fuel crisis - September 2000 Flooding Terrorism It is important to remember however, that your business might be affected by much more localised incidents than those examples given above, particularly in the case of very small businesses. These might include: Fire Storm damage Theft of a vehicle Break-in at the premises Personal illness (self employed) Flooding (water system failure) Road works outside the premises or on a major access route to the premises Failure of suppliers to deliver Foot & Mouth Disease Outbreak - Spring 2001 Examples of possible future risks include: Pandemic human flu Heatwave and drought (the anticipated effects of climate change) As you can see, in an uncertain world it is quite likely that at some point any business might be affected in a way that was initially unforeseen. On average, a typical company can expect to experience a MAJOR disruption to the availability of their office and business systems once every four years. The actual nature, duration and cause of the disruption varies but in 2004*: 41% of companies suffered from loss of IT functionality 25% lost telecommunications 18% experienced disruption caused by flood or storm damage 11% completely lost access to their site (*source: The Chartered Management Institute 2005). Business continuity planning (BCP) is a process by which any business, no matter it s size, can plan to meet the demands of this uncertain future. 2

4 For a small business this process will be relatively simple but well worthwhile, providing protection for proprietors and employees alike. For larger businesses, the scale of business activity will make the process more complex, but again it will be time well spent. The Council itself is going through the BCP process to ensure that essential services can either be maintained during an emergency situation, or in the case of a major incident that results in services being suspended, allows them to be reintroduced as quickly and effectively as possible. This effectively increases our resilience to emergency situations such as: Damage or denial of access to premises including contents Loss of critical services such as IT and telecommunications The loss of a public utility (e.g. electricity) Failure of key suppliers / partners Loss of specialist equipment Disruption to transport or the road network Industrial action or other unavailability of staff (e.g. illness). The key principles of Business Continuity, no matter how big the business is: Reduction / avoidance of identified risks Planning for business / service disruption Development of recovery plans to ensure the continuity of services in the event of an emergency or disaster. To aid businesses in carrying out this process, we have provided a checklist which can be used to form the basis of a business continuity plan. It is important to remember however that every business is different and whilst the general principles detailed in this pack can be applied in most cases, there will be specific issues or concerns that each business will need to address. Useful Sources of Information The following websites contain information that can help with business continuity planning: Lincolnshire Resilience Forum: UK Resilience: Community Risk Register: Flooding Information: Preparing for Emergencies: Lincolnshire County Council Emergency Planning Unit: 3

5 Business Continuity Checklist Business Continuity Checklist Yes No In Part* Notes Have you assessed what unforeseen incidents or events could affect your business? Do you have up to date insurance covering both your building(s) and contents, as well as employee / public liability? Have you got all of the information you would need to make a claim if the building is not accessible, including an inventory? Do you have up to date insurance covering any vehicles that you use for your business? Will your insurance cover you for the various scenario s that might affect your business? Are all of your important documents kept in a safe place, protected from theft, flood and fire damage? Do you regularly back up your computer records and store the copies at another address? Do you keep off-site a list of key staff with their contact details in case of emergency? Do you keep off-site a list of useful contacts for use in an emergency eg: plumber, electrician etc? Do you keep off-site copies of other critical data such as customer and supplier records? 4

6 Business Continuity Checklist Yes No In Part* Notes If you have an intruder or fire alarm, do the emergency services have details of the key holder? Have you identified alternative premises that you can operate from where appropriate, eg. a home office? Do you have the facilities you need at the alternative premises, so that you can keep the business going? Do you use different suppliers to provide the goods you sell or products that you use? If you use a single supplier, are you satisfied that they can guarantee supply if they are affected by an emergency? If other businesses rely on your business for supplies and services can you guarantee this service if you are faced with an emergency? Have you assessed whether you can continue to operate if a large number of staff are absent e.g. due to illness or bad weather? Have your staff been trained so they know what to do in an emergency? Have you carried out necessary fire safety and health & safety risk assessments and acted on them? Have you made plans to allow you to recover effectively from disruption should it be unavoidable? * If answer is No or In Part, you should set yourself an action plan to address these issues so that you can make your business more resilient. NB: The checklist above has been provided purely as a guide to help you assess whether or not your business is resilient to unforeseen incidents and emergencies. There may be other factors that you will need to consider for your particular business. 5

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