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Something a little closer to home

Our local nursery had a problem with water on Thursday and Friday last week.  The nursery is located on hospital grounds, and has a significant intake of hospital staff children.  On Thursday afternoon, hospital building contractors cut through the water main and, as a result, the nursery water was diverted to the hospital.  A limited nursery service was available on Friday, for those children in nappies and those who were toilet-trained enough to be able to make it over to the hospital toilet.

The nursery are proud of their efforts, stating that they stayed open despite breaking their regulations and going against the advice of Ofsted; was their insurance valid at this time?  The other aspects of this story that should be considered:

Supply Chain

The hospital is viewed as being unhelpful with the provision of water, despite the impact that the nursery closure could have on staffing.  The nursery itself had nothing else by way of plans to fill the header tank.  Given the importance of utilities for a nursery service, it is vital that suitable plans should be maintained.  Any reliance on providers/emergency suppliers should be confirmed and tested to ensure that plans are relevant and correct.

Communications

On Thursday evening, an email was sent to all parents explaining the situation and the limits of service.  Parents were additionally requested to bring anti-bacterial wipes.  There was no follow up on the email to confirm that it had been read, such as by read receipt or requesting a response.  Some parents did not get the email, and my own went into Junk Mail (probably due to being titled ‘***Important Message***’ ).  This demonstrates the importance of ensuring that whatever means of communication are used, confirmation of receipt of the message should be considered.

Of greater significance was the request to provide anti-bacterial hand wipes.  This was such a minor matter, allegedly implemented due to allergy concerns, but resulting in late-night forays into local supermarkets, and anger from parents who are paying for the nursery service.  Through provision of hand gel (which the hospital has everywhere!) and effective communications, this could have been used to generate goodwill for the nursery; instead this has increased resentment of the management.

Summary

This small example highlights the importance of Business Continuity Planning, understanding your key dependencies, knowing that you can reply on your supply chain and any emergency suppliers, and ensuring effective communications.

Written by Helen Molyneux