Business continuity in an emergency

Business continuity in an emergency

Business Continuity Management is about identifying parts of your organisation that you can’t afford to lose.

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is about identifying those parts of your organisation that you can’t afford to lose – such as information, stock, premises, staff – and planning how to maintain these, if an emergency occurs. Business continuity management can ensure your organisation can handle an emergency, continue to function and can recover effectively afterwards.

Any emergency, large or small, whether it is natural, accidental or deliberate, can cause major disruption to your organisation. But if you plan now, rather than waiting for it to happen, you will be able to get back to business in the quickest possible time. The Business Continuity Guidance booklet provides more information.

The Cabinet Office Civil Contingencies Secretariat has developed, in partnership with stakeholders, a business continuity toolkit to help the commercial and voluntary sector implement BCM.

The Business Continuity Management Toolkit aims to help you put the theory into practice by guiding you through the steps you will need to take to implement BCM in your organisation. It is a step-by-step guide taking you through the six elements that make up the BCM lifecycle.

Example templates for care establishments:

BCM plan template for residential care establishments West Midlands

Emergency Planning Unit


County Hall

Spetchley Road



Contact the Emergency Planning Unit

What is Business Continuity Planning?

What is Business Continuity Planning?

Business continuity planning simply means anticipating the crises and problems that could affect a business if a disaster should happen - for example a flood, a long term power cut, a terrorist attack. If a firm prepares for events that could halt the business it is in a far better position to continue to function in an emergency.

The government provide guidance to the population on current threats and risks. The local multi agency Community Risk Register can be found here:

Take time to look at the local risks and decide which ones are applicable to your home and business, or both. 

Having decided what risks are relevant prepare your business continuity plan.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is looks at all critical areas of the business and outlines clear roles and responsibilities for everyone involved. It also lists emergency services and contingencies so that essential business activities can continue. Staff safety should be a top priority in any continuity plan. Depending on the business, plans can be simple and be kept with other company policies and updated regularly.

Why don’t many businesses make continuity plans?

The reasons are varied, but many small businesses believe they do not have the time, the experience or the resources to make a plan. Often small businesses over-estimate how well they will do in the event of an emergency and do not realise how overwhelming the problems can be. Many firms believe that either the problems that will affect them are too small to bother with, or are too big to deal with – for example a terrorist attack. Also, many small companies do not even have basic plans and policies in place and are not up together on current legislation, let alone planning for crises that may not happen.

Why should my firm consider a Business Continuity Plan?

Businesses need to be flexible and think just as much about protecting themselves as growing the business. Any company needs to be strong enough to survive serious incidents such as flooding, cyberattack, loss of power and fire and be able to re-open quickly if a disaster does happen.

Having a business continuity plan in place will help you mitigate against any disruption to your business and speed up the recovery, so that you are delivering your service or product as soon as you can.

What is the difference between a disaster plan and a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan will ensure any crisis is managed carefully before it becomes a disaster. It will address all the requirements essential to keeping the business running, including ways and means of keeping disruption to clients and employees to a minimum. 

Disaster recovery plans for small businesses usually focus on IT recovery of the businesses such as back up systems. Do you know where to obtain the best advice on how to protect your IT system? The National Cyber Security Centre - NCSC.GOV.UK provides the most up-to-date guidance available in the UK, whether you are a small, medium or large business and its free. 

If you are the victim of fraud or cyber crime then you need to contact:

Action Fraud, Telephone 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud provides advice on all types of fraud, and what action to take should you be the victim of a fraud or cyber crime, or witness such an event taking place. Action Fraud also provides a free cybersecurity tool for small business.  

My business is very small, why should I bother?

It doesn’t matter what size your business is you must protect it. Small firms are in fact the most vulnerable because they don’t have the back-up of resources and facilities that larger companies can rely on. Any incident can impact on your business, and if profits plunge what will happen to you and your staff?

What if I can’t afford a business continuity plan?

It can be simple and cheap to make a plan. There are free downloads to help, and local authorities have an obligation to help. The main thing is to think the unthinkable, put a policy in place and review it every six months or so.

Where can I get more information?

The websites below are very useful and will provide you with lots of information. Think about your particular business situation and adapt as necessary. Many business specific associations may provide bespoke business continuity advice for their members. Major insurance companies may also provide such advice, although this may not be free.

If you are looking for an example business continuity plan, then a search of the web may provide you with an example that is similar to you needs.

Useful websites:

  •  For businesses involved in the Care Section. Bespoke advice can be found at the Care Provider Alliance.
  • Provides advice on all aspects of business continuity
  • Another site that provides advice on Business Continuity, Cyber resilience and Operational Resilience
  • Government advice and links on Preparing for emergencies , including business continuity

Link to the: 10 minute assessment

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