The client is a commercial research institute with approximately 100 staff. Having recently written a Business Continuity plan from scratch, they asked our consultant to facilitate a desktop exercise for their Crisis Management team. The agreed objectives for the exercise were as follows:
- Improve familiarity with the Business Continuity plan;
- Practise the Crisis Management team in making decisions in a crisis situation; and
- Identify any gaps in the Business Continuity plan.
8 members of staff attended the exercise; this included a mixture of primary members of the Crisis Management team and their designated substitutes as would likely occur in a real incident. The exercise was based on a ‘flu pandemic scenario which unfolded over a 2½ hour timeframe. As well as giving the team practise in working together, the exercise identified some specific areas where the existing plan was weak including:
- Awareness of critical suppliers and their plans;
- Methods for communicating with staff; and
- Implementing arrangements for remote working.
Even before the ‘flu pandemic occurred, the plan improvements resulting from this exercise stood the institute in good stead to deal with both a significant power outage in July 2008 and the bad weather of February 2009.