How would your business cope in a crisis? Do you have plan to recover if anything happens? Or are you just leaving it to luck?

Preparing for your Business, please visit Mayor of London preparing for your Business.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. What is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?

Business continuity management is the practice of looking and seeing what risks there are to your business and then planning to make sure the business can continue to operate and return to normal if the unexpected happens.

Some insurance companies are setting their level of business interruption premiums according to the speed at which an organisation is able to resume business. Several large businesses are starting to insist on suppliers having robust business continuity management processes in place before they will trade with them.

Despite recent high-profile threats to businesses hitting the news - from terrorist attacks, extreme weather, petrol blockades, fires and trade disputes - research has found that the UK's small and medium-sized enterprises are gambling on their futures by not having these plans in place.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places, amongst other duties, a statutory responsibility on local authorities to promote business continuity to all business and voluntary organisation within the borough. The council’s Business Continuity Management Lead has produced a template and guidance notes to fulfil that duty. This helps organisations to become more resilient and the London Borough of Lambeth to remain a leading business and investment location in the capital.

Not all business continuity incidents pose an immediate threat to life or limb. Whatever the cause of the disruption, the impacts usually fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Loss or denial of access to premises.

  • Loss or shortage of key staff or skills.

  • Loss of technology or data.

  • Loss of key suppliers, partners or third parties.

2. Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

The Business Continuity Plan is designed to help prepare your business to cope with the effects of an emergency or crisis. It would also provide the basis for a relatively quick and painless return to 'business as usual' regardless of the cause.

There are five steps to take:

  • analyse your business

  • assess the risks

  • plan and prepare

  • share your plan

  • test your plan

The primary aim is to ensure that, unless there is an overwhelming pressure or necessity, your business remains open and that normal routines are maintained as far as possible. It is vital that your BCP is specific to your organisation and contains relevant, concise and up to date information that may be needed urgently during an emergency situation.

Hard and electronic versions of your plan should be stored in a number of pre-identified locations which are shared with relevant members of staff and one location should be offsite.

3. Useful resources

Please visit The Business Continuity Institute which is the world’s leading institute for business continuity.

Preparing for your Business, please visit Mayor of London preparing for your Business

Preparing your business for BREXIT, please visit preparing for brexit for more information. There is also an excellent online resource at EU Londoners Hub produced by the Mayor of London.

4. Schools Business Continuity Management Plan

The aim of the Schools Business Continuity Management Plan (SBCMP) is to help staff respond effectively to an emergency at school. The SBCMP should cover procedures for incidents occurring during and outside school hours - including extended services, such as breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday activities.

The SBCMP should be generic enough to cover a range of potential incidents that could occur, including:

  • serious injury to a pupil or member of staff
  • significant damage to school property
  • criminal activity
  • severe weather
  • public health incidents
  • the effects of a disaster in the local community

The planning process

Preparing for emergencies is an ongoing process involving:

  • risk assessment
  • planning
  • training
  • exercises
  • reviewing

Throughout each stage of this process it is important to consult Staff and Governors to gain their involvement and support.

Schools Business Continuity Management Template and Guidance

Whether you adopt the council’s template or choose to use your own, you can use the Explanatory Note and Overview to develop appropriate arrangements for your school.

Further information is available on the School Services website.