Conducting Desktop Exercises
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
- 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
- Implementing arrangements for remote working
As well as helping to prepare for a pandemic, the plan improvements resulting from this exercise stood the institute in good stead to deal with both a significant power outage and severe weather.
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