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Calling BUPA

At what point should businesses be able to move from an incident response and return to Business As Usual?  How quickly should services be returned to 100% capacity?
Widespread flooding has impacted large swathes of southern England, impacting residential areas and businesses alike.  One of the businesses impacted was BUPA who, some weeks on from the initial inundation, are still experiencing delays to their call centre service; their website apologizes for any delays, as do pre-recorded messages, and there have also been instances of the call centre closing early.

BUPA prides itself on the capability and expertise of its call centres, with their call centres being listed as ‘The Times 100 Teaching business studies’ case study.  Furthermore, their literature states that ‘We plan for unlikely events, such as a major pandemic, and have a detailed crisis management action plan which we can put rapidly into operation. This includes a systems disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan.’  Indeed, a tweet from @CambridgeRisk on this subject was answered ‘we have well-planned procedures in place for events like this.  Our people have done a great job.’

Call centres are often the face of an organisation, and it can be critical to maintain that service.  To understand the requirements for maintaining the service, as well as other business operations, the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is a critical process which defines the required recovery timescales and requirements.    In this instance, whilst I am sure that there have been sterling efforts to continue the call centre service, I am curious to know when BUPA are expecting to be deliver a normal call centre service, and whether their response and current capability is as defined within the BIA and their crisis management and business continuity plans.

It is also worth asking how many organisations can test effectively test this longer term aspect of their continuity planning?  Majority of exercises focus on the initial phases of the response, and may often be no more than a couple of hours in duration.  It is usually the case that this long term response and capability can only really be understood in the event of a real incident.  It would be helpful if BUPA could share their post-incident review findings in order to help other businesses from all sectors to understand some of the implications for a long-running incident and recovery.

Written by Helen Molyneux