Business continuity

Business continuity

It is a requirement of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 that Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) have appropriate business continuity (BC) arrangements in place, so that a required level of response can be maintained at all times. NFCC has a Business Continuity Management Group, which is made up of representatives of all fire and rescue services in England and Wales.

The group meets twice a year and it provides a network and opportunity to share learning for those who develop and maintain the business continuity arrangements for their applicable FRS. Work undertaken by FRSs is not just to develop business continuity internally; the group also works to promote it externally to businesses.  This is done at both a local and national level and through links with the CFOA Prevention, Protection and Road Safety directorate.

Business Continuity for businesses

Business continuity is all about maintaining a suitable level of service and delivery when disruptive events occur.  Therefore, as a business, whether big or small, having a lot of customers or a few, applying BC in your organisation can mean the difference between failing and surviving after an event.

The main principles are:

  • Identifying your organisation’s critical activities, as in the things you need to do to provide your service/product.
  • Identifying the threats to the services/products i.e. natural hazards, cyber attack, loss of staff.
  • Planning for recovery and how the organisation will continue to function, when will systems and processes need to be recovered by and how?
  • Training staff and exercising plans, so that you can be confident planning arrangements will work.
  • Maintaining arrangements by updating plans and other documents regularly.  BC should be embedded into organisations to that its application becomes second nature to staff.