Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 04 May 2021
Have you reviewed your Business Continuity Plan after Brexit and Lockdown?
The impact of COVID-19 and BREXIT has caused disruption to every industry sector and whilst some organisations have shown growth in recent months, that has quite often depended upon which sector they operate in.
For many, it has resulted in significant pressures simply to stay operational or be in a position to begin trading again after periods of lockdown.
Those organisations not forced to close during lockdown or who have had to adopt new processes in order to continue trading with the EU, amending/improving their safety procedures, operations, resilience and agility has been a crucial factor in being able to continue to remain operational.
Greg Street, Risk Management Managing Director at Griffiths & Armour commented:
“Irrespective of sector, COVID-19 and BREXIT has permanently altered how most organisations deliver their goods and services. We are working with many of our clients to support them in how best to incorporate these new ways of working within their Business Continuity Plans (BCPs). It is widely recognised that probably the most significant threat to the effectiveness of a BCP is it being out of date and therefore not reflecting current arrangements. It’s perfectly understandable that the priority for so many businesses has been simply to survive and with so many changes in safety guidance, business processes and hygiene in the workplace over the last year it’s not surprising many BCPs will not reflect those changes. As changes to working practices come into effect with lockdown restrictions gradually rescinded, organisations should begin the process of reviewing and updating their BCP to cater for those new arrangements”.
The main way to ensure that your revised BCPs remain effective is to conduct exercises within the workplace. There are several types of exercise that can be undertaken. Here are five examples that you might wish to consider:
Tests and Drills
Tests usually have a defined pass or fail result and apply to equipment, technology or recovery procedures, such as IT recovery following loss of data. Drills typically involve emergency procedures, such as building evacuation. These exercises are easy to create, have clear objectives with potentially little cost and time required. However, they can be narrow in scope and have limited effectiveness for developing and improving business continuity plans.
Participants are divided into syndicate groups and are provided with a given scenario. Each syndicate is posed a number of set questions around the scenario and are required to discuss these in their respective groups. The syndicates then reconvene to discuss their findings. The events of the scenario are then moved on and the process starts again. Ultimately, all findings are consolidated and fed into the review of business continuity plans. They are also generally low cost, require only a small number of individuals to run them and have a moderate level of realism.
A commonly used form of exercise that is generally based on the occurrence of a specific scenario requiring designated participants, usually in the same room, to work through response plans and demonstrate how these would operate as the scenario unfolds. They can be run in ‘real time’ or can include ‘time jumps’ to speed up the exercise. This form of exercise rehearses a specific team in its roles and responsibilities to manage an incident. They generate minimal disruption, require limited numbers of organisers and involve medium levels of ease, time and cost. Drawbacks can include a potential lack of realism and limited effectiveness in evaluating plans.
These exercises generally involve all relevant personnel within the organisation, usually in their normal place of work thereby potentially involving multiple departments and/or locations. Organisers feed scenario information to participants who are expected to manage and respond in a realistic manner as the scenario develops in real time. Whilst typically having a medium level of complexity and disruption, this is very much determined by the scope of the exercise.
A live exercise can be similar to a simulation, with the exception that it is as close to a real-life scenario as possible. It may therefore involve the shutdown of locations, systems and/or equipment as part of the scenario. The exercise can also extend to the participation of third parties, such as suppliers, customers and the emergency services. Live exercises are commonly used where there is a high legal or regulatory requirement. They are designed to involve all participants and are considered the most realistic and effective way of testing individuals and evaluating plans and contingency arrangements. However, they do require significant time, can be costly and cause disruption to the organisation’s day-to-day activities.
Griffiths & Armour can provide business continuity planning guidance and insurance advice to improve your organisation’s resilience. If you would like more information on how we can help please contact Greg Street directly (below) or get in touch with your usual point of contact at Griffiths & Armour.
If you are a Griffiths & Armour client, guidance on business continuity, including new BCP scenario exercise documentation is already available by logging into our online risk management portal, RMworks.