Business Continuity

Business continuity planning (or business continuity and resiliency planning) is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.

Any event that could negatively impact operations is included in the plan, such as supply chain interruption, loss of, or damage to, critical infrastructure (major machinery or computing /network resource)

Business Continuity Planning – Overview

Our specialist consultants will work with you to develop your business continuity plans including effective procedures for specific crisis types, e.g. flood, fire, loss of a key supplier, IT failure, fatal accident, catastrophic loss of utility, mass absenteeism, etc. The RQA consultant will spend time with individuals within your company to best understand the issues and current crisis plans (if any); looking for best practice as well as gaps to fill. The consultant will then remotely start to develop the business continuity plans whilst keeping in regular contact with the appointed contact person within your company and arranging follow up meetings as required.

There will be the need for further communication for the consultant to ensure that the business continuity plans that they develop are completely in line with your business. Once a draft business continuity plan is completed the RQA consultant will send it to you for review. The consultant will also highlight areas that need additional attention and data / information. After further discussion, a final business continuity plan will be issued by you.

12 Reasons to Implement a Business Continuity Plan

1. Demonstration by senior management and board of due diligence
2. Financial services authority requirements
3. Protect shareholders and other stakeholders
4. Protect brand and reputation
5. Competitive advantage in tender situations
6. Insurance requirements – property insurance, product recall insurance
7. To protect production and long-term business
8. Corporate manslaughter act
9. Due diligence: Sale of company – implemented BCP looks favourable
10. Expansion to new facility – BCP required for new site / office
11. BRC Issue 8 requires BCP (clause 3.11.1)
12. Customer requirements, ISO 22301 etc.

The Process

As a first step towards developing effective business continuity plans one or more meetings will take place between the RQA consultant and key members of your crisis management team. The first meeting will concentrate upon compiling a risk profile of 5 – 12 specific crises that could affect your business and classify them in accordance to severity and likelihood.

In addition to the risk profiling, the consultant will work with your team to develop a business impact analysis. This will identify specific processes or equipment or business functions that would cause significant business continuity issues if they failed or did not perform as expected. Factors such as down time impact, ability to replace, outsourcing, related timescales and costs will be included in a concise but effective matrix.

The business continuity plans will take the form of a series of procedures for dealing with each crisis identified in the risk profiling exercise. Each will be a practical tool that is easy to follow and considers notification, escalation and communication with an accompanying action plan.

Business Continuity “Health Check”

The RQA consultant will evaluate the core content of your business continuity plan and then delve into the detail to ensure it is sufficiently comprehensive and effective. We do this through a combination of advance review of your business continuity plan followed by a detailed analysis at your site with your business continuity plan “owner”.

During the day, the RQA consultant will discuss all key elements of an effective business continuity plan and will run through several specific incidents relevant to your business. In short, we will assess your business continuity plan, related systems and practical business continuity capability.

Summary of outcomes:

  • Compare your plans against industry best practice
  • Ensure all key content is included in your business continuity plan
  • Provide advice on techniques that can be used to simplify the document
  • Be confident that your business continuity plan will work for incidents
  • Is important to your business
  • An optional report will be compiled that will highlight strengths and improvement opportunities for your business continuity plan

Business Continuity Simulation Exercise

It is very important to test your business continuity plans, your team and company systems; once they have been completed and then annually. RQA’s customised role play / scenario-based, table-top simulation will provide you and your business continuity plan with sufficient challenge to identify any improvements or capability enhancements.

“Table-top simulation”
The RQA consultant will develop a scenario with input from a member of your team. This will relate to one of your crisis types identified in your risk profiling. Your team (based in your board room or located remotely) will be fed information from the consultant regarding the after-effects from a serious incident, followed by various “injects” that escalate the scale as time goes on. The focus will be on how you can get your business back to normal operating levels and capability.

On completion of the business continuity simulation, a full report will be prepared highlighting findings with recommendations for further developments of plans and capability.

business continuity

“We have worked with the RQA Group for the past year now and throughout this time, have been able to deliver a complete overhaul to the structure of our Business Continuity Management documentation for our Global portfolio. With Business Impact Analysis, Crisis and Recovery Plans now complete, we have begun working on Simulation exercises to put our plans to the test. The exercises that we have completed to date are professionally run to a high standard and provide great value to our staff and organisation.”

Sarah Jeffrey
Group Health, Safety and Property Compliance Manager , Charles Taylor Plc