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Business

Keeping Your Business Safe

Did you know that 20% of businesses face major disruption every year, with around 10% of these unfortunately ceasing to trade. We never expect a fire, flood, or utility disruption to affect our business, and it's certainly not something that's top of your priority list. But thinking about how you might cope with these disruptions and how we would carry on trading is important and could be the key to ensuring your business survival.

Business Continuity Advice & Guidance

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 states that local authorities must provide advice and guidance to local businesses about how to prepare your business for those small or large things (accidental or deliberate) which may cause unforeseen problems to your business.

In general terms Business Continuity is about protecting the things in your business that you can't afford to live without (staff, premises, IT etc) and how to plan to try and prevent these things being affected.

It doesn't matter what size of business you hold you need your business to be able to continue to keep the profits coming in and to be able to pay your staff.

Business Continuity Guidance for Organisations of Different Sizes

Different sized organisations have different considerations and therefore will require different plans and organisation, below is some guidance that can help with plan writing:

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Within the past 3 years, have there been any occasions when the business operation(s) have been disrupted by:
    •  Computer or critical system failure for more than 2 hours
    •  More than 40% of your staff unable to attend work for 24 hours
    •  Loss of a building/premises for more than 2 hours
  2. Have you put in place procedures to learn from these events and stop/minimise their affect?
  3. What contingency plans does the organisation have in place to identify and control against (or minimise) risk / threats to the business operations?
  4. Does the plan contain or point to, a risk register for your business?
  5. Does the plan state the requirement for decision logs and documentation retention during and after an incident?
  6. Does the plan state there must be a minimum of an annual test of the business both for managers and staff members?
  7. Does the plan show the need to ensure that all staff are aware of the business continuity procedures (to some level) and that the procedures are not directed towards senior management only?
  8. Is the plan clearly defined to have and ensure, employees are aware of the different protocols for different locations within the organisation?
  9. Does the plan contain arrangements to deal with evacuations/ invacuations of properties?
  10. In the event of an emergency, does the plan:
    •  Have, or identify where, the company's contact details are so that staff and/or customers can contact a group of senior managers both in and out of hours?
    •  Have contact details, or identify where the company can get contact details for all clients it has to use in or out of hours, to report a problem?
    •  Show the command structure of the company that should be used in an emergency to coordinate the response?
  11. Does the plan have or point to, a disaster recovery plan for the IT of the organisation? 
  12.  Does the plan have details regarding ability to source emergency funds and how those funds will be used and monitored in an emergency?
  13. Does the plan contain requirements to ensure that companies in your supply chain have business continuity plans to maintain your services?

For more general business advice please visit the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub.