Business Continuity

The guidance in this section is intended as general information about planning for emergencies. It is not intended to replace detailed guidance and planning specific to your business.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to promote Business Continuity Management and where possible provide Business Continuity advice to commercial and voluntary organisations.

What is Business Continuity?

  • Business continuity is about making sure your business or organisation is prepared in the event of an emergency.
  • How would you continue to operate?
  • Do you provide a critical service to your customers?
  • Would it be 'business as usual'?
  • Having a tried and tested plan will help to ensure your business or organisation suffers the least possible disruption and ultimately continues to operate.

Business Continuity Management 

Business Continuity is ensuring you can continue to provide your key services in the event of a disruption.

Business Continuity Management is just as important for small companies as it is for large corporations. It can ensure your organisation can handle an emergency, continue to function, and can recover effectively afterwards. Making business continuity planning a part of the way you run your business helps prepare you to offer "business as usual" as quickly as possible after a major disruption. 

Business Continuity Risks

Having a tried and tested plan in place will help protect your business against the impacts of a natural or man made disaster, such as:

  • Fire
  • Adverse publicity
  • Loss of key personnel/staff
  • Loss or denial of access to your premises
  • Floods and severe weather
  • Computer failure or loss of data
  • Theft
  • Bomb threat
  • Technical or environmental failure
  • Power failure
  • Product contamination
  • Failure of critical suppliers.

Any of these could result in any one or more of the following:

  • A complete failure of your business
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of reputation and or loss of customers
  • Financial, legal and regulatory penalties
  • Human resource issues
  • An impact on insurance payments.

Your business continuity plan could involve:

  • Moving to another part of the office or building
  • Moving to another location
  • Staff giving up their work areas
  • Working from home.

Did you know?

  • 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close within a month
  • 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are forced to shut within 2 years
  • 58% of UK organisations were disrupted by September 11th. Of those disrupted 12% were seriously affected
  • Nearly 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year.

Business Continuity Process

Key concepts of the BCM process are:

  • Understanding your business and key business objectives
  • Identifying key activities and staff working within those areas
  • Identifying service areas / business activities or processes where any failure (e.g. of equipment suppliers, etc.) would lead to a major business interruption.
  • Identifying the potential threats
  • Assessing all internal and external risks
  • Calculating the impact of those risks
  • Planning to reduce the likelihood or reduce the impact of identified risks/threats
  • Exercising the plan and training your staff
  • Auditing the results and reviewing the plan regularly. 

Achieving Business Continuity Processes

Prioritise the order or criticality of the services you provide. Start the review with the most critical/priority services and work through all services that require a Business Continuity Plan. If you have no existing plans start by listing, in priority order, key services. 

1st - Identify the need to plan

  • Identify all critical/priority services and prioritise them
  • Prepare a list of all known risks
  • Plot each identified risk on a graph of impact versus likelihood
  • Decide how much risk you can prevent or reduce and set the risk appetite for how much your business can take. Plan for the remainder.

2nd - Prepare your plan

  • Prepare a generic plan of actions to enable you to continue each of your critical/ priority services, which also details specific actions for different types of risk and different services.

3rd - Test your plan

  • Discuss your plan with all relevant employees involved in key services and identify any training requirements
  • Simulate a theoretical disaster and test your plan.

How can the Council help?

  • Civil Contingencies Unit can offer general advice on Business Continuity
  • We can also provide information on sources for more specific advice and/or assistance
  • We cannot prepare your plans for you as you know your business and the critical processes
  • We usually offer advice free of charge.

The Welsh Local Government Association and Welsh Local Authorities Civil Contingencies Group have produced a Business Continuity leaflet which provides advice and guidance for those that have a responsibility or role in the management of your business. 

The WLGA also have a self assessment form on their website, which should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.  

It will help you outline issues you need to consider enabling you to prepare for an emergency that may disrupt your business. If you do have a plan, then it may help you to identify any issues that you haven’t previously considered.

Further information 

If you would like further information or advice about business continuity contact Civil Contingencies Unit, or the websites of the Business Continuity Institute, UK resilience and the Welsh Government