Suffolk Director Magazine
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enterprise issue articles

Spring / Summer 2019 enterprise issue

Business Continuity: A problem shared is a problem halved

Business Continuity Plans: A problem shared is a problem halved
By John Turner, Chief Operating Officer, Ellisons Solicitors

No matter how large or small, young or established your business is, it’s imperative that you have a detailed and up-to-date business continuity plan in place.

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is there to protect your organisation and ensure that the business can carry on operating uninterrupted by any external or internal factors. Whether it be a fire, cyber-attack or bad weather conditions – anything that can impede the functionality of your organisation, a strategy needs to be formed and communicated in order for your business to be resilient.

A BCP shouldn’t, however, be mistaken for a crisis communications plan. A business’ continuity management strategy should highlight any scenario that has the potential to disrupt business operations. It can be as simple as ensuring staff are aware that they are expected to work remotely in a certain circumstance, or that internal meetings will take place at a director’s residence if the office is inaccessible
for example.

Essentially, the BCP should be driven by how the business operates rather than the reliance on business support functions such as IT and risk and compliance. Although these areas should facilitate the instigation of the plan, you must consider the nuts and bolts of your business operations to draw up an effective strategy.

Once in place, it’s imperative that your BCP is constantly reviewed to take into account business and personnel developments e.g. as your business grows and you open new offices.

Personnel information particularly contact details (both professional and personal) must be kept up-to-date if there is a change of role or departure to ensure that internal communications are seamless and efficient.

Your BCP is a framework that also needs to be tested. Run regular desktop tests of your plan by role-playing a scenario and ensure any learnings are incorporated into a revised plan. It provides you with, not only a method for communicating with your clients, but also with your employees that potentially keeps them safe whilst at work and demonstrates a duty of care for your workforce.

When it comes to the legality of a BCP, there are two main situations when you have a legal obligation to provide one:

1.  If it is part of a contract with a third party

2.  If it’s required under regulation

Legal advice is always advisable if there are any uncertainties surrounding contracts you’re signing or drawing up.

Ultimately unforeseen circumstances can impact on a business’ bottom line, especially those operating within supply chains, and even force a business to close down. A BCP can act as a safety net, so the value of having one should never be underestimated.

With six offices located across Suffolk and Essex, Ellisons is one of the oldest, most established and growing firms in the East of England having been founded over 250 years ago. Contact John Turner on 01473 556900 or john.turner@ellisonssolicitors.com or visit ellisonssolicitors.com

Sue Wilcock