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Business continuity

Emergency planning will help your business cope with a major incident like a flood or a power cut.

For this, you will need to:

  • Identify the essential functions in your business;
  • and consider how they would carry on during an emergency incident.

Ask yourself:

  • How long could we cope if there was a power cut or the phones went dead?
  • What if an incident prevented delivery to a key customer?
    • Would they give us another chance or would they go elsewhere?
  • Is the business at risk of flooding?
  • How would a major incident affect staff morale?
    • Would they stand by the business or look to move on?
    • What impact would their departure have on the business?
  • How would serious damage to my premises affect the business?
    • How easy would it be to contact regular customers to let them know the situation?
    • How long would we be able to fulfil orders?
    • How would this affect our reputation?

It can mean making plans for the sudden loss of:

  • Work sites;
  • staff and skills;
  • suppliers and partners;
  • specialist equipment;
  • technology and communications;
  • data and information;
  • and utilities.

This list is not exhaustive and there may be some risks which are specific to your organisation.

Benefits of advanced planning

Advanced planning helps your business to:

  • Reduce the potential for financial loss.
  • Keep a good reputation.
  • Improve staff confidence.
  • Avoid bad publicity.

Create a plan

Before an emergency occurs, think about a plan! Your business will be more able to provide customers with goods and services, if an emergency happens.

This simple to do ten minute survey will help you:

When you create a plan, there are five stages to consider:

1. Understand your business

Do a 'Business Impact Analysis' to find out which are the essential functions of your organisation. Also, to find out the resources needed to carry these functions.

  • Which functions enable you to deliver goods and services to your customers?
  • What resources are required to ensure the delivery of goods and services?

It can also be useful to carry out a Risk Assessment. This is to identify potential threats to your organisation and the likelihood of them occurring.

The Community risk register, was developed jointly by West Yorkshire Local Authorities and key partners. It details the main risks for the West Yorkshire area and may help to identify risk for you.

2. Develop a plan

There are a number of key factors that should be included in your plan:

  • Record key personnel contact details and backups. Which personnel carry out critical functions within the organisation and who else can assume that role in their absence.
  • Identify critical staff. Are they able to work from home, or from a different site?
  • Document key external contacts. This includes suppliers, customers and utility companies.
  • Document critical equipment including software. What equipment do you need for your organisation to continue to function? If the equipment was not available, how could it be replaced?
  • Identify critical documents. Such as bank and insurance details.
  • Identify a relocation site. Where could your business work from if your normal site was not available?
  • Identify roles and duties within your business continuity plan and assign these to employees. Create a checklist for each role and identify actions required if your Business Continuity Plan is activated.
  • Large companies might create departmental, team or service plans.
  • When complete, keep a copy of the plan on-site and off-site. Ensure key personnel receive a copy.

For more about how to make a plan, visit:

3. Train key personnel

When your plan is complete, train all staff, whether they have a role or not. They will then be aware of actions to take, if there is an emergency.

4. Test the plan

It is important to test the plan to make sure it works if an incident occurs. When all employees are trained on the plan:

  • Run a test.
  • Review how it worked.
  • Amend details where necessary.

5. Review and maintain

Review your plan each year to make sure it is up-to-date and:

  • If something changes, amend it.
  • Make sure you update all copies of the plan.

Contact us

For more on emergency planning issues or general advice and support about business continuity, contact:

Web chat: Our advisers are available to help, Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm. Chat now

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