Business continuity is an essential part of any organisation’s response planning. It sets out how the business will operate following an incident and how it expects to return to ‘business as usual’ in the quickest possible time.
A business continuity plan (BCP) need not be specific to terrorist incidents and applies to any major disruption such as fire, flooding or power fault.
The plan itself sets out the agreed arrangements for bringing events under control, the necessary resources for maintaining critical business functions and the staff required for coordinating actions. It needs to be clearly presented, avoiding vague internal references and abbreviations, and structured in such a way that people can quickly find and understand what is expected from them.
The BCP should:
- understand the business – identify the assets (including people) and processes that are critical to delivering business
- detail responses – including the initial response to an incident and the longer-term implementation of measures for a return to business as usual
- consider continuity preparations – how to make your organisation more resilient whilst your BCP is being developed
- provide an exercise framework – how the business will test, review, adjust and update their BCP.
A wide range of advice for developing and maintaining BCPs is available. For example see GOV.UK's advice on preparing for emergencies.