Develop your plan
Your business continuity plan should contain the key areas listed below. This is not an exhaustive list and you may find other things are needed as part of your strategy:
- Roles and responsibilities - make it clear who is responsible for each action, including deputies to cover key roles, a recovery team and a co-ordinator.
- Incident checklists for key staff - use checklists that readers can follow easily.
- First stage - include clear, direct instructions or checklist for the crucial first hour or so after an incident.
- Following stages - include a checklist of things that can wait until after the first hour
- Document review - agree how often, when and how you will check your plan to make sure it is current. Update it to reflect changes in your personnel and risks you might face
- Plan for worst-case scenarios - if your plan covers how to get back in business if a flood destroys your building, it will also work if only one floor is flooded.
Information from outside your business
Consider getting specialist information on the roles of other organisations that may be involved in the emergency such as:
- Landlord - if you rent your business space, find out what plans and help your landlord may be able to provide
- Neighbouring businesses - nearby businesses may be affected, but you may still be able to help each other
- Utility companies (telephone, electricity, water, gas) - find out what they will need to know, their emergency supply procedures and main connection targets
- Your insurance company - what information does it need from you? Do you need permission to replace damaged critical equipment immediately? Will the existence of a plan reduce your premiums? What advice can it give you?
- Suppliers and customers - how will you contact them to tell them you have been affected by an incident? By involving them if you can, they may be reassured by your planning process
- Local authority emergency planning officer - find out what your local authority would do in response to a major incident
- Emergency services - what information will they need? How can you help them with access routes and information (key holders etc)?
Points to remember
Make your plan usable. Don't include irrelevant information. Use existing organisational roles and responsibilities and build on them in the plan.
Specify the escalation of the plan. Who decides when to involve special arrangements and who manages the process? How will the stand-down process be managed?