Business continuity is not often top of mind when communities, councils and statutory authorities are plunged into disaster response.
The ‘off the shelf’ business continuity plan provided by risk based consultancies simply does not work for organisations involved in supporting emergency agencies and communities during major disasters.
Sometimes the community emergency response and business continuity functions are seen as separate, but in fact need to work intrinsically hand in hand.
In the past 12 months we’ve taken several councils and businesses through a critical business function assessment review. We found each heavily underestimated both the functions and staff needed to keep the organisation running during an external event.
One organisation listed 21 functions as critical in a former business continuity plan. However, after going through a for-purpose assessment process with them, they found there were 52 critical functions that could tolerate minimal disruptions – a doubling of the original.
In terms of staffing resources required to carry out critical functions, the organisation initially thought it would need around 160 staff. However, after completion of ResilientCo’s BIA process, they discovered they needed more than 260 staff to perform key critical functions to maintain internal systems and respond during an emergency, a 64 percent increase compared to what was in the plan they were using.
Understanding the resources and skills an organisation needs to run the business and the emergency as well as supporting its internal and/or external communities is a first step in developing mature plans, processes – and better yet – the ability to implement them.