The Commissioner, the Companies and the (lack of) commitment

Business needs to look in the mirror to discover who needs to do more

Following the terrible attacks on London, there has been increased concern over the levels of planning in London, but it seems to us that the media has been quick to point the finger at those doing MOST to correct the situation rather than lamblast those ignoring the advice that has been repeated time and time again.

City terror attack 'inevitable'

It is only a matter of time before London's financial heartland is attacked by terrorists, the police chief responsible for the area says.

City of London Police Commissioner James Hart told the Financial Times potential targets had been staked out several times since 11 September. "Hostile reconnaissance" had been disrupted, but no suspects had been arrested over this so far, he said.

Mr Hart also said that only 50% of firms had Business Continuity or contingency plans in place. 'When, not if' The mindset of the would-be terrorist meant that the financial centres of western governments were prime targets, he said. "If you want to hurt the government, hurt people at the same time, and you want to cause maximum disruption...where better to hit than at the financial centre?"

Mr Hart also pointed out that the City of London had been a target for terror attacks for 30 years, highlighting the number of times the area had been hit by the IRA. "I think it is a matter of when, rather than if." P

otential targets included prominent sites and business - "anywhere where the maximum damage can be inflicted on the financial systems," he said.

Sites where an attack was likely to cause large numbers of casualties and maximum disruption were also likely targets, the police commissioner added.

Continuity Forum Comment

Commissioner Harts comments coming so soon after the attacks on the 7/7 clearly indicate the level of concern of police and security services have over the risks of further terrorist violence in the capital. Of particular interest to us is the raising of the level of planning within organisations at a time when the risks could not be higher.

Organisations of all types must ensure that they have effective Business Continuity Plans in place and that staff are aware of the emergency procedures.

In our opinion and that of our legal counsel, organisations not implementing Business Continuity Management and rehearsing their emergency procedures are clearly negligent with regard to their duty of care to personnel and other stakeholders. This negligence leaves them open to both extended losses and significant claims for damages and loss, which could cripple the company following an incident.

We would ask that people working not just in the City, but across the country start asking the employers who have yet to make provision for Business Continuity WHY?

Directors need to act now to resolve the issues of planning and ensure a proper and responsible focus on protecting their staff and the interests of other stakeholders. I

It should be noted that following 7/7 legal claims are now in the initial stages of seeking damages. We have already reported that many insurance policies do explicitly exclude losses from terrorist acts and we further recommend that policies are reviewed and updated if required, particularly in relation to the personnel issues.

On a more positive note, we have been working for over three years with both the City of London and the Corporation of London and in our opinion there is probably no area of the country better prepared to deal a major incident.

We have already run a number of events in association with both the City Police and the Corporation providing support and information to organisations and there will be further sessions in the coming months. For further information on these please contact us directly.


If you would like to know more about how your organisation can get involved and benefit from working with the Continuity Forum, please email us HERE! or call on + 44 (0) 208 993 1599. 


Businesses focused on need to beef up security

By Roger Blitz Financial Times 

Lyndon Bird is uncomfortable saying it, but the business that helps industry to prepare and cope with large, unexpected incidents is benefiting from one of those periods of growth when terrorism dominates world attention. 

More than 20 years in the business continuity industry has taught him not to expect these growth spurts to last long.  “There was a period when the IRA campaigns were a major concern, but that died away and people were less concerned about it,'said Mr Bird, who runs Continuity Planning Associates, a consultancy. 

The attacks on New York on September 11 caused another big upturn in business, but even that lasted only six months. This latest surge in demand following the London attacks may be another blip, but the signs are that businesses are taking seriously the need to beef up their security to ensure they can keep going should there be another attack. Medium-sized businesses have been making up the bulk of the 75 per cent increase in inquiries since August 1 at Continuity Forum, an independent group offering support, advice and best practice. 

Larger businesses have, in part for regulatory reasons, already spent millions on security and continuity planning.  “There has been more concern expressed by medium-sized organisations and these are the ones who had not been taking business continuity seriously,'said Mr Bird. 

Russell Price, of Continuity Forum, said:  “[Medium-sized companies] are now taking a greater interest, they are struggling in some respects to understand what they should be doing.'Smaller businesses remain unwilling or, more likely, unable to invest in business continuity and security. Mr Price said one retailer in Russell Square found that a lot of his passing trade vanished after the Metropolitan Police sealed off an area containing his business because of forensic examination of one of the four bomb explosions on July 7.  

“Many small businesses are on the edge. This might be enough to put him into receivership,'Mr Price said.

Many inquiries from small and medium-sized businesses are about insurance, but Mr Price said since September 11 there was a reluctance from insurers to provide cover.  “The insurance companies are making it clear in policies that terrorism is excluded and that cover for other areas, such as loss of IT systems, might not be available.'Inquiries from SMEs are naturally focusing on the more affordable items of security and continuity, such as CCTV, glass-protective film and, for entertainment premises, security guards. The costs start to mount for protective barriers and specialised security.

The temptation for some businesses is to spend security money for the sake of it, rather than taking what Mr Price calls a more integrated approach to risk.

“A lot of companies are spending money to make them feel better rather than adopting a strategy to protect themselves. There needs to be a more strategic management of risk through the business continuity management process  “It's not just terrorism. In fact, the vast majority of businesses are more likely to be seriously affected by IT, personnel, power and water damage issues.'Besides, the costs may be not as great as they once were.

“Only the largest and most profitable companies could afford to do it, but now there is much more available to people,'said Mr Bird.  “Organisations are more able to negotiate competitive and more sensible back-up arrangements for accommodating their IT systems and services. The industry, the suppliers of services, people who supply alternative accommodation and desks, the front office-type services, they have become more available to people then they were,'he added. 


If you would like to know more about how your organisation can get involved and benefit from working with the Continuity Forum, please email us HERE! or call on + 44 (0) 208 993 1599. 

Business must plan for the worst and hope for the best

Business must plan for the worst and hope for the best 

By Jo Valentine Chief Executive London First (supported by the Continuity Forum)

The terrorist attacks of September 11th should have been a wake call for the business community in Britain and across the world. However, nearly four years on, national surveys show nearly 49% of all UK businesses lack plans to keep the wheels turning if the unthinkable happens. Astonishingly, that number has only improved by 5% since the 9/11 attacks. Where there are plans – mostly among the larger and more regulated businesses – one fifth have never been tested.

London recovers and starts returning to normal

After a terrible series of events, the spirit of the capital remains unbowed, but there will still be lessons to learn.

The widespread disruption caused travel chaos in Central London with many resorting to walking for many hours to get home.

Schools were open late to allow parents time to get home resulting in many Shops and Offices closing for the day. Travel is likely to continue to be affected during the day as people assess and reflect on the day’s events, but London is well on the way to resuming Business as Usual.

Phytopharm stock dives after bomb target broker quits

Shares in drugs company Phytopharm fell sharply after animal rights activists scared off its broker.

Canaccord Capital resigned as broker to Phytopharm yesterday – less than a month after a firebomb attack targeted its European finance director.

A website linked to the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for planting the incendiary device which set fire to Michael Kendall’s car. The ALF says Phytopharm has links with animal testing group Huntington Life Sciences. HSL is a long-standing target for protesters.

Think Tank says "US lacks adequate financial protection from Terror Acts", but its the UK too!

The terrorism insurance system in the United States is failing to provide businesses with adequate financial protection, leaving the nation vulnerable to economic disruption if there is a major terrorist attack, according to a RAND Corporation study issued earlier this week.

India's offshore IT and call centre industry targeted by terror group

Wed, 2005-03-05

Indian police have uncovered plans by a Pakistan-based group to attack companies working in the offshore IT and call centre industry.

Members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group engaged Police in New Delhi in an hour long shoot out resulting in the capture of two and the deaths of three members. Police later raided their base and found information revealing they had visited Bangalore in December to survey software companies as potential targets as well as AK56 rifles, ammunition and over 10kg of the explosive RDX.

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