Jeremy’s Jottings

Expecting the unexpected.

I am used to expecting the unexpected. Storm damage, burst pipes, personal injury claims. But, once in a while there are relatively large scale events which still make me draw breath. First hand examples include contractors falling from a building, fire, flood and on one occasion closing the South Circular Road when scaffolding collapsed.

On encountering such circumstances my role is to ensure property is fit for re-occupation as soon as possible thereafter. What I have seen and quickly learnt is that businesses directly affected by such events struggle to recover and fail from a significant incident or crisis. A crisis need not be as a result of say the damage it could be an incident such as IT failure.

Whatever the event, successful recovery depends not only on the provision of insurance (if available) but also on a prompt and well-executed response. Time is of the essence and this is where a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) helps to avoid delay, confusion and maximises resources.

BCP’s need not be complicated. As an example if you had to contact say 25 staff how long would this take? Should other matters take priority whilst doing so? The answer is probably yes. A simple practical solution I’ve experienced in a number of organisations is cascading information. Who contacts who is predetermined based upon the business organogram with no one person contacting more than 5 people.

A plan may also deal with areas such as:

Staffing numbers dependent upon the situation including arrangements for remote working or relocating.

Communication with staff, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and the press after the event.

Telephone, email, website, post, electronic files and documents storage / retrieval.

Damage assessment and salvage from the premises, as well as its ongoing security.

Which team members are responsible for actioning the specific aspects of the plan.

Business Continuity Plans can be as large or small as complex or simple as you consider necessary. They do though need to be living documents, if possible rehearsed. A full scale exercise isn’t essential. Just consider something along the lines of what if the internet and email were unavailable for a period of time? How would you / your business fair? I suggest it’s seriously worth thinking about.

I sincerely hope the unexpected doesn’t happen, but if it does, perhaps you will have a plan so that it’s expected.

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter. The information is provided for the purposes of general information and interest. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements. It does not constitute advice and does not provide a substitute for it. No liability can be accepted by Lawson Commercial for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.