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Could your business make it through a crisis? Incidents such as severe weather, staff absence, failure of a key supplier, fires, floods, malicious damage and many other potential incidents can cause a business significant problems and prevent it from carrying out its usual operations.
A business continuity plan can help to prevent operational interruptions to your organisation and enable it to quickly return to a state of 'business as usual'. Once it has been prepared the business continuity plan must be tested and exercised.
If you have been inspired to developing a continuity plan for your business, write yourself a realistic plan based on the following Toolkit (PDF from DirectGov).
Start by looking at the Thames Valley Community Risk register and consider any local risks associated with your geographic location.
Conduct an impact analysis to highlight the key areas that you need to focus on.
Consider risk mitigation via the four Ts. - Terminate, Treat, Transfer, Tolerate
Your plan is only as good as those staff that have been trained in its activation. To ensure your plan works well, ensure that your members of staff have been trained in its activation and use.
Testing your plan is good practice. Check phone numbers within the plan regularly and conduct at least one annual test on the highest risk areas of your business to ensure that the plan is suitable.
Each member of the local resilience forum has a Business Continuity Plan, and makes preparations based on Business Continuity Institute guidance.
Many private companies offer Business Continuity Training packages. Nationally, the Emergency Planning College offers a range of courses included Business Continuity modules.