Preparing a business continuity plan

09 May 2018

Planning for the worst to keep your organisation at its best.

Why is business continuity important?

A major incident can cause severe disruption to your business. Incidents of this nature are usually unexpected and this makes them difficult to prevent. A continuity plan gives you a preconceived set of protocols and considerations to follow in the event of a crisis. It can save time and enable your organisation to continue operations much sooner. 
 
Organisations with a business continuity plan therefore tend to be more resilient. Even the existence of a plan can help to build customer confidence in your business. To them, it’s a reassurance that you will be on-hand to support them whatever happens.

What are the key objectives in a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan should aim to achieve a variety of outcomes for your organisation. Some key objectives may be to:
 
  • Enable operations to continue as quickly and as smoothly as possible
  • Progress back to normal working conditions
  • Cause the least inconvenience to all parties – employees, suppliers and customers
  • Minimise the risk of accident, injury or ill health to all.
In the event of a fire or flood, for example, complications in restoration or rebuild of your premises can mean that disruption continues for many months or even years following the incident. 

Business continuity planning steps

Preparing a plan can be broken down into four main steps:
 
  • Appoint a business continuity committee/team – the team should be selected from senior management to assume control in the event of a disaster and implement the plan.
  • Appoint a plan co-ordinator – the person who will head the team. 
  • Outline your objectives – some objectives are listed above but others may be unique depending on the nature of your organisation.
  • Create an emergency plan – this relates to the first 24 hours of any emergency.
  • Create a recovery plan – this should be designed to come into action when the full extent of the disaster is known.
  • Create a communications plan – everyone needs to be kept informed, how will you do this?
  • Plan for the distribution and storage of your business continuity plan – it needs to be easily accessible and distributed to all those who need to follow it.
  • Refresh and renew plans – it should be a living document and revised regularly.
For more detailed advice on each of the steps above, you can review our business continuity guidance notes below.