Hurricane zones: No need to become a sitting duck

Oct 18, 2005

The devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina graphically illustrates how destructive extreme weather can be.

For risk management professionals, the fearsome power of hurricanes is such that they present a unique set of challenges.

Oliver Schofield, a director at the global property practice at Aon, the consultant and insurance broker, says: "You can risk manage your way out of all sorts of problems. But when a hurricane is about to strike your building you have a major problem. This is outside management control."

Shaking off the flu

October 27 2005

Business leaders, like everyone else, are being bombarded with news about the risk of a human bird flu pandemic. Executives should consider now what, if anything, they need to do to prepare against this threat.

Decisions must be based on a sober evaluation of the risks. According to most experts, the probability of a human pandemic this winter is small. So there is no cause for panic.

However, many experts think such a pandemic is likely to occur one day. If it does, it could have disastrous consequences. It therefore makes sense to draw up contingency plans to deal with the worst-case scenario. These should be based on two key objectives: to take care of staff and to minimise disruption to the business and its revenues.

Can we cope when all around us is in chaos?

2005 will be remembered for the power of nature and its ability to destroy what man has made. The Indian Ocean tsunami, hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the earthquake in Kashmir have provided demonstrations of how fragile communities are when faced by such disasters.

Softening the blows of disaster

The enormity of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the communities of the US Gulf coast has yet to be comprehensively assessed. Already, though, the consequences for businesses around the world are beginning to become clear.

Insurance claims are expected to run to many billions of dollars, and the closure of oil refineries is causing a surge in fuel prices. Coming soon after last month’s severe floods in Switzerland and Austria, and with the Indian Ocean tsunamis fresh in the memory, Katrina has reminded us of the impact natural disasters can have on business – especially those that are unprepared.

Workplace crises: What to do if the worst happens

While much corporate attention has, over the past several years, been lavished on security - with everything from guards, access control cards and electronic intrusion detection systems now the norm - managing a crisis in the workplace is sometimes neglected.

Government extends CCA responsibility to Strategic Health Authorities

 The Act splits local responders into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each. Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, Primary Care Trusts), and are subject to the full range of civil protection duties.

Decontamination following a CBR Event

ARCHIVE Material

The planning for business continuity and disaster recovery post CBR chemical biological radiological is often ignored or even potentially worse, incorrectly assessed. This assessment can be assimilated as that of a hazard assessment when the risk manager doesn’t know of combined or symbiotic effects. Post CBR planning may be difficult to assess due to limited knowledge, experience or facts but various information is available on which to assert assumptions.

This article attempts to alert the planner to some elements that should be considered.

UK Health Departments reveal Pandemic Plan

UK public health experts have unveiled their plans to deal with an Avian Flu Pandemic in the face of rising concern over this serious health threat in Asia.

The Government has also announced the purchase of over a million doses of vaccine, which to be used primarily for Key Workers. These steps coincide with increased reports and concern from the World Health Organisation concerning Avian Flu.

Don't let the unexpected ruin a relationship

Outsourcing managing the relationship honestly 

'Force majeure' is written into many contracts, but it is a mistake to treat it as a boilerplate clause. It is vital that definition and terms are spelt out clearly.

Like so many things left to chance, the modest clause of "force majeure" is written into the terms of many IT outsourcing, credit card, lease, insurance and financial contracts, and could be a disaster just waiting to happen.

So what is force majeure, and why is it sometimes overlooked for serious consideration when spelling it out could benefit both the supplier and the customer?

Fuel Crisis Report

Executive Summary

In September 2000, British farmers and truck drivers launched a dramatic campaign of direct action to protest a fuel duty. Their campaign followed a similar one by farmers, truckers, and fishermen in France, which had resulted in concessions from the French government.

The UK protesters blockaded fuel refineries and distribution depots, and, within days, created a fuel crisis that paralyzed CI sectors and brought the country to a virtual halt. The impact of the protest was much deeper than anticipated because it struck at a particularly vulnerable point of the UK economy -- the oil distribution network, which had been organized along just-in-time delivery principles. This, combined with anticipated shortages by fuel consumers and consequent panic buying, magnified the impact of the protests on practically all CI sectors in the UK.

Public Sector Emergency Planning Self Assessment Toolkit

Self Assessment Toolkit for the Public Sector National Audit Office lauches Self Assessment tools for Local Authorities

The Civil Contingencies Bill supports the promotion of greater resilience among public agencies and the wider local community.

The bill makes now an appropriate time for authorities to review current arrangements. It promotes business continuity as well as emergency planning, recognising that preparedness is an issue for the whole local authority and the businesses within the area.

There is no preferred structure for delivering the services covered by the bill. Much will depend on local issues (for example local hazards such as the number of COMAH sites; the internal arrangements of the local authority regarding risk management and links between emergency planning, risk and business continuity arrangements.) Authorities also need to contribute to local multi-agency strategic work and to the development of regional and national agendas. Business/service continuity arrangements are an issue for all services.

In areas of joint arrangements many specific emergency planning responsibilities lie with the responsible or contracted authority. However, all authorities need clarity about who would be responsible for responding to an internal or external emergency on behalf of the authority; effective arrangements for contacting those people, including out of hours; and a clear system for control and communication during emergencies.

Individuals who may form any emergency response team are likely to benefit from appropriate training. The effectiveness of arrangements can only be reviewed and validated through regular exercises. Reviews and learning based on those exercises and on actual incidents in an authority, or in other authorities, can then feed into improvements. In June 2004 the Forum started to provided Local Authorities and other groups with the resources and expertise to run and manage a variety of Business Continuity events around the whole of the UK designed to boost awareness and connect with local businesses.

Russell Price, Chairman of the Continuity Forum, commenting on this announcement from the NAO says: “The importance of effective Emergency Planning and BCM within our local Authorities is clear and the current CCB proposals are for the first time placing responsibilities on the public sector to ensure that both their own BCM plans are effective and that local business are encouraged to adopt BCM to boost local resilience to disruption events. We are commited to support Local Authorities with this work and have already supported a nuimber of initiatives around the UK. ANY Regional or Local group needing support, assistance or guidance can contact us and we'll help develop Materials, Guidance and even local Events to promote BC both internally and externally.”

The Continuity Forum is providing an extensive range of free support services to assist UK authoroities develop the awareness and proactive planning and management in a wider range of businesses across the UK.

Our Guidance has been developed in conjunction with a number of Local Authorities and is completely NON commercial in nature, thereby fully meeting the needs of the PUBLIC Sector whilst not compromising on the either the quality or content of the advice and support. The Bill makes it clear that there is a duty on Local Authorities to engage with Business for the promotion of Business Continuity Planning and recognises the role that indepedent groups can offer in this space.

The Continuity forum is once again leading the way by bringing information and knowledge on the issues to a new audience enabling a greater level of National awareness and importantly, support for both the Local Businesses and the Authorities. The programme has already started with a very succesful event, held in conjunction with the Corporation of London during June, and will now rollout to other parts of the UK.

All feedback recieved has been excellent and we are now confident that with the Local Authority sector and the Continuity Forum working in Union we can bring the benefits of BCM many more organisations across the country and improve the quality of both planning and local liaison.

For more information or to join the programme please contact the Continuity Forum directly on 020 8993 1599 or If you have any questions please do contact us at the Continuity Forum, you can either mail us on or call us on 020 8993 1599.

Companies have little or no bird flu insurance, warns broker Aon

October 31 2005

Businesses warned of cash flow problems, supply chain hold-ups and staff absences which would follow an outbreak with MANY businesses, including those operations depending on sensitive supply chains, finding they have little or no insurance cover against the effects of avian flu.

With the infection beginning to hit Europe, leading insurance broker and risk management consultant Aon has called on corporates to take action to protect their performance.

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.


The Government remains on track to bring the bulk of the duties in Part 1 of the Act fully into force in November 2005.

Implementation timetable

The Act requires the Government to seek the consent of the National Assembly for Wales to the revised package of Regulations and statutory guidance and to consult the Scottish Executive; this process will take place during May and June. The Government has worked closely with colleagues in all of the devolved administrations throughout the policy development process, and do not expect to make substantial further changes to the documents. Local responders should therefore continue to drive forward their implementation programmes using the revised draft Regulations and statutory guidance published today as the basis for this work.

Singapore Standard introduced for Service Providers

Business continuity and disaster recovery fundamentals are strong in Singapore because of its: Strategic geographical location - Free from natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, Singapore is well known as a major financial, transportation and infocomm hub, and is home to more than 7,000 multinational corporations. Many use it as a launch pad to expand into the region.

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