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Hertfordshire County Council

Why you need a business continuity plan

There are a number of risks which can affect your business if you are unprepared.

Risks affecting Hertfordshire


Unplanned IT outages

Problems in the supply chain

Fire or flood

Cyber attack

Act of terrorism

Transport network disruptions

How a plan will help

  • Having a plan in place is reassuring to employees, who know they'll receive clear instruction if a disruption to normal business occurs.
  • Having a plan in times of emergency can minimise reputational damage.
  • Working on a plan helps you identify key services in your business and how they affect each other. This promotes better decision making.

When thinking about what area of your business could be affected, think FORCES:

  • Financial - If your business isn't operating at normal levels, you'll still have outgoings. Think about how you'll cover these.
  • Operation - If one service is affected, will it have a knock-on effect?
  • Reputation - How will you manage potential reputational damage? Will this cause customers to leave?
  • Customer - If disruption inconveniences customers, they may go elsewhere.
  • Environment - Ensure you can still compete with other organisations in the business environment.
  • Staffing - Staff won't stay long if you can't pay - and it's a big undertaking to rehire and train.

Prepare and write your plan

Your plan should be:

Concise - short and to the point. You need to get your key messages across quickly, and a long plan will slow people down.

Accessible - Don't store your plan in one place. Make back ups, and keep them in different places. Don't store them all on the same computer system.

Easy to read - using simple language means that people understand what they need to do more immediately. You want anyone in your business to be able to access and understand the plan.

Analyse

What are the risks? For each earea of your business, write a business impact analysis. Produce a timeline for their recovery in the event of disruption, before their failure causes irreversible damage. 

Plan

Once you've assessed the risks and the impact on eacharea of your service, you can write your plan, which will set out what to do if disruption hits. Use the templates above to help you.


Test and review your plan

Test

Testing your plan is a vital part of ensuring its effectiveness. Testing can identify gaps and fix things which aren't working.

Run through these scenarios in a table-top exercise with your staff to test your plan works:

Scenario guidelines (PDF)

Review

A plan needs to be kept up to date to be effective:

  • Review it after any major changes to your staff, procedures, premises, suppliers or services.
  • Check that staff contact details are correct every year.


Comply with fire safety regulations

GOV.UK fire safety in the workplace explains:

  • who's responsible for fire safety in business premises
  • how to carry out a fire risk assessment
  • how to create a fire safety and evacuation plan
  • fire safety equipment, drills and training
  • penalties for non-compliance.

Email the Fire Protection Office for more advice.

Phone: 01707 292310

Fire Protection Department
Mundells (post point MU103)
Welwyn Garden City
AL7 1FT