Business continuity planning is about understanding what could go wrong and stop us from working, and then making plans to get around those problems.
It involves thinking through the unthinkable, working out what's more likely and the worst effects, and then agreeing and writing a set of pre-arranged actions and checklists. It helps to plan ahead, so that you don't have to do it in the heat of the moment. Ultimately, it is your plan for keeping your organisation going during a crisis.
There are very good reasons to plan for business continuity. By thinking about:
- all of the things that could cause a crisis (the risks)
- what happens when it goes wrong (the impacts) and
- how likely it is to happen
you can plan what would be the best way to get through an incident and get your business back on track. The alternative is to wait until something goes wrong and then, amongst all of the chaos, demands from customers and so on, to try and think of what might work.
By looking at this risk likelihood and its impact while all is calm, we have worked out which areas of the council's business are the highest priority and which can be left for slightly longer while we begin to recover. We have also worked out where we will work from, the number of people we need, how we get our computer systems back and, as importantly, how we let you know and how you to contact us during this time. This is referred to as a business continuity plan.
It is important that other organisations and private businesses have business continuity plans too, as it will help them to recover more quickly following an incident and it helps to make sure your customers can still use your services, which is equally important to you, to them, and to the wider economy.
Businesses can get business continuity advice from Forest Heath District Council or St Edmundsbury Borough Council and also by joining the Suffolk Resilience Business Continuity Forum - a forum run by businesses for businesses. They meet regularly and run seminars and workshops designed to help with this process.