Happy New Year to all our readers!
The Christmas break has served as a salutary reminder as to the need to consider out-of-hours issues in business continuity planning. There has been a couple of incidents over the Christmas holiday period which will have direct impacts on businesses, such as the deliberate grounding of the Hoegh Osaka and Citylink going into administration. Consider also a couple of other recent major incidents:
- Shortly before Christmas, on the late afternoon of 12 December, there was widespread air traffic disruption when NATS experienced IT problems;
- Didcot power station had a major fire on Sunday 19th October;
- Flight MH370 disappeared on Saturday 8 March.
As someone who regularly scans the news for examples where there could be business continuity and crisis management planning implications, it is interesting to note how many incidents occur on a Friday evening, and during the weekend or on major public holidays. I have vivid recollections from my time as an Emergency Planning Officer when we were experiencing major flooding and needed to coordinate a local government response. However, it was 8am, staff were still travelling to work, and all the main access roads had been closed.
Such incidents serve as a reminder to ensure that incident management plans take into account availability of staff, both for incident management and for recovery purposes, and to endeavour to ensure that plans are effective for an out-of-hours response. As an example,
- Can Incident Management teams meet or liaise remotely?
- Are there mechanisms in place for rapidly getting staff back into the workplace for recovery or salvage operations?
- Have remote-working plans been effectively tested and exercised?
- Do you have an effective and tested method for contacting all key staff?
Equally critical is the need to be able to ensure effective and timely communications with stakeholders. Bryson (1995) defines a stakeholder as “any person, group, or organization that can place a claim on the organisation’s attention, resources or output, or is affected by that output”; communications should target all stakeholders.
2015 New Year Resolution
Do you need help confirming that your plans are fit-for-purpose? Do you need assistance in getting business continuity plans in place? Contact Cambridge Risk Solutions today on 0800 035 1231 to confirm how we can work with you to develop solutions for your business.
Written by Helen Molyneux