Prepare your business
A good business continuity plan and strategy can often be the difference between a failure and success when faced with unprecedented circumstances.
The 'Would you be ready?' framework can be used to help identify what the critical functions components are, and how to get them back to an acceptable level in a fair and achievable timeframe.
You should consider the following guidance notes when applying this framework:
1) Understand your business critical functions and activities
Any changes to critical functions and activities should prompt a review of your plan.
Lasting damage isn’t always necessarily physical, sometimes it is reputational, financial or it impacts your resilience. It is important to understand:
- Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption (MTPD) - the maximum amount of time that an organisation can afford to be affected by an incident.
- Minimum Business Continuity Objective (MBCO) - the level of services which is acceptable for the organisation to run at during an incident.
3) Assess your risk
Lincolnshire, like all counties, is susceptible to various risks and these can be crucial when making preparations. The Lincolnshire’s community risk register rates the risks most likely to occur due lifestyles, culture, and geography.
It is important to consider the risks within the register, and how they would impact the critical functions of your organisation. It is then possible to prioritise your critical functions based on likelihood, severity, and timeframes for recovery.
4) Reduce your risk
There are various different tools available to you in order to help assess and reduce your risks, such as the Would You Be Ready guide to building a resilience checklist.
5) Develop an Emergency Plan
Build layers of resilience into your emergency planning by sharing responsibility, but making sure that there are primary and deputy contacts.
Think about what would trigger a plan to be invoked and how this would be communicated to those who need to know.
6) Develop an Emergency Communications Plan
A communications plan means that during an incident it is clear who must be notified. Messaging templates can be created in advance, and adapted as needed by the organisation and recipients.
Timelines of what should be communicated, and by when are important to help build resilience. Communications plans should be revised in line with the business continuity plan, or when there are changes or after an incident, especially key contacts.
7) Communicate and rehearse your Plans
Building business continuity focussed on individual responsibility means that all staff members will understand the importance their part plays in the process.
Staff can feel more prepared by taking part in exercises, which can range from discussions and walk-throughs all the way through to large-scale live events.
It is good practice to share your business continuity plans with suppliers, and staff, ensuring that everyone knows where they are located.
8) Revisit and update your Plans
A maintenance schedule should be se for how frequently business continuity plans should be revised. The following changes should always prompt an immediate review of the plan:
- People - a change in personnel means an update to roles responsibilities and contact details is required.
- Practice - if there is a change in they way you deliver your service then this could have a knock on effect to the plan.
- Property - changes to offices, even working from home, can mean many changes such as evacuation routes, storage, and communications.
- Post incident - using reflective practice to examine what went well, and what lessons can be learnt, are key to progression and great resilience.