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MEMBERS AREA

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Sorry … access to this area is reserved for Full Members of the Continuity Forum.

Membership of the Continuity Forum enables you to gain preferential access to our events, workshop, website and development activities saving you thousands of pounds. Membership of the Forum also enables you to access our research as well as gaining direct help and assistance in developing ‘in-house’ activities designed to boost the success of your BCM programme.

Membership of the Continuity Forum also helps ensure that your organisation is kept informed, engaged and involved in this rapidly developing sector.

The Continuity Forum has various membership categories tailored to suit your organisations needs and for further information on these please contact Ann Sharp directly on +44 (0) 208 993 1599 or via email at membership@Continuityforum.org

more info on the Continuity Forum

The Continuity Forum welcomes members from all fields who are are interested in, the field of Business Continuity Planning and Management, and its related disciplines. We provide a wide range of services designed to support your organisation in building effective 'Best Practice' BCM.

Continuity Forum acts as a bridge between organisations who have interest in promoting, delivering and utilising Business Continuity and Risk Management. By our actions, Continuity Forum encourages a uniform approach to the delivery of these critical disciplines. We provide an unbiased, non-commercial input to regulators, legislators, standards bodies, auditors, academic bodies and the media.

Continuity Forum has working relationships with:

· Civil Contingencies Secretariat
· Police, Fire and Security Services
· London Resilience Team
· Local Authorities inc. the City of London
· Auditors inc the Audit Commission
· Academic Institutions
· Professional Bodies
· Trade Bodies
· Transport Organisations
· Business Organisations inc. Business Links.
· Service Providers inc. Insurers
· Media
· Standards Bodies

Membership of the Continuity Forum entitles members to:

· Access and invitations to Forum Development Groups
· Access to our Online Forum Development Groups
· Access to our research programmes and data
· Networking
· Free advice on Continuity Related issues
· A voice in the Forum - make suggestions for programmes, events,
· Discussion topics
· White papers, articles and data of use to Continuity Professionals
· Opportunities for your own White Papers to be published

Membership of the Forum is open to:

Anyone who is involved in a professional, managerial or operational capacity (full or part time) in Business Continuity Management, and who is willing and able to contribute to the objectives of the Forum

Anyone with an interest in Business Continuity Management.

Anyone engaged accredited academic study (full or part time) related to the field of Business Continuity or Risk Management.

To find out about more about us and how we can help your organisation develop its BCM programme you can either call us on 020 8993 1599 or e-mail us directly at membership@Continuityforum.org

Insurers sharpen focus on BCM

Insurers sharpen focus on Business Continuity Planning

As forecast by the Continuity Forum, pressure is mounting on Business to ensure that Business Continuity Plans are at the heart of an organisations planning. Much of the reason is the fear from the sector that still too few organisations are developing an effective response to the risks facing Business, particularly with regard to major Terror attacks and other events, such as the Blackout in South London last winter and the Telecoms Failure in Manchester this Spring. The industry is also concerned about the effects of the recent weather events which have disrupted businesses across the UK and caused millions of pounds of damage.

The Times has recently reported (September 6th, 2004) that leading insurers, including AXA, have already held discussions with government to look at the possibility of introducing a legal requirement for BCM or other Business Interruption arrangements as a pro-active preventative step to control the scale of losses caused through events which would be covered through the companies normal Insurance provision.

The Times also reports that this move is part of a broader drive within government and the Insurance industry to shift more of the responsibility back from the Insurers to the organisations themselves. According to Times reporters, Elizabeth Judge and Christine Seib, there is a certain appeal (from some quarters at least) to this idea as they report government concerns over the costs arising from such events where the Treasury may end up footing the bill. In addition, these consultations highlight in the strongest terms the importance of BCM in reducing the costs of Business Disruption seen so far from the Insurance sector.

The Continuity Forum has already shown that while spending has risen across some areas of the sector there is still far too little being done generally in the UK business community, particularly outside of the closely regulated markets such as Finance.

A specific concern of the Continuity Forum is the level of planning within the SME sector, where the amount of knowledge on both the issues and resources available to develop planning are severely limited.

Experience in New York following 9/11 and generally in areas ravaged by the recent floods show these SME organisations are the most vulnerable to the effects of business disruption, suffering far more than their Multi-National cousins.

Indeed, most SME’s are failing to ensure even basic provision for disruption to their businesses and are also likely to have the lowest levels of appropriate Insurance cover or Business Continuity provision.

We feel however, that while these discussions with Government are most welcome as part of the development of the message to business, the insurance sector bears some significant responsibility for some of these issues. Many members and partners of the Continuity Forum continue to report a lack of willingness to ‘reward’ organisations who have taken steps to build their resilience by undertaking extensive planning and management programmes with more balanced policy premiums.

The latest Continuity Forum research soon to be published highlights that while Insurers are right to be worried, governments concern should be even higher as any payouts of claims actually represent far less than 50% of the actual cost following a Business Continuity Event. The resulting impact on what in fact are our most vulnerable organisations means that many never fully recover from even relatively minor, localised disruptions.

The Continuity Forum has been working hard throughout 2004 with various Public Sector and professional groups around the country to provide SME access to support and information as well as special targeted events geared to introduce BCM and its value to smaller organisations. This will continue to be a key feature of our activities.

If you have any comments on this article or on the work of the Continuity Forum or more information on our knowledgebase or our various research programmes and resources please contact Sara McKenna, John Sharp or Russell at the Continuity Forum directly on 020 8993 1599 or info@continuityforum.org

Corporate Responsibility

Writing a short piece highlighting the developments in Business Continuity is a challenge mainly due to the breath of the subject and the varied interests of those involved. Should the article concentrate on the IT and Infrastructure dimension, should it concentrate on issues such as Brand and reputation, the risks in the supply chain or on Turnbull and Corporate Governance. The scope can be huge and therefore a challenge to summarise in what has to be limited space.

You spend ages thinking about the various topics you could cover only to realise after the 3rd rewrite that the problem with the article is very similar to problems faced by companies in coming to terms with this rapidly developing business issue of Business Continuity - the scope and breadth of the subject means defining the starting point is the most important part of the entire process of both Business Continuity and writing this piece.

For some of you reading this you will already be Continuity planners with considerable experience, others, the majority in all likelihood, will be just starting on the road and with this in mind will concentrate on the Big Picture through a brief examination of the commercial drivers behind the development of Business Continuity and what it means for companies today.

Firstly, and to dispel a developing myth Business Continuity is not new, the principles have developed out of many fields which have proven their worth over the years countless times. Often. Continuity Planning and Management is cited as developing from Contingency Planning or Disaster Recovery; some would include other disciplines such as Crisis Communications, but the underlying principles are much simpler. It’s learning from previous experience and, importantly, applying that experience proactively throughout organisations with one aim; to make sure that the organisation is able to continue its core activities no matter what happens.

Over the years we have seen companies suffer in the public eye through the media, some of the causes are natural, attacks from Mother Nature which ahs been affecting much of Europe the Rest of the World causing disruption on a large scale. Others are social, such as the fuel crisis and still more are technological, IT failures or Hacker attacks and some are reputation based (remember Ratners and Perrier?).

The common theme that runs through these events is, for most organisations, that the disruption caused has impacted directly on their capability to conduct “business as usual” and that in many cases the organisation responds reactively to the situation generated often adding to the impact of the initial event. This leads to higher costs and a drop in productivity and even for relatively minor events the costs can mount alarmingly.

Business Continuity is an established practice that reduces this impact and tries to ensure that the organisation is available for business - no matter what.

For a company hit by a major disruption to cope ‘effectively’ what is the better position for the management to be in:

  • To react to situations without a plan as they arise?

or

  • To have developed and tested a range of planned measures geared to resolve the situation quickly and cost effectively with the least disruption to customers and personnel?

The answer is obvious and in today’s fiercely competitive markets the cost of getting it wrong can be huge, but I prefer to look at this way - the advantage of getting it right can be huge.

In research we have conducted we can show that for companies prepared the effects of similar events (ranging from Floods & Fire to IT failure) the difference in impact can be as much as 90% - so what’s the difference? Planning!

When companies are hit by events we often hear expressions such as ‘unforeseen’ or ‘surprise’, but what does this mean? It means they hoped it wouldn’t happen to them - but it did.

The vast majority of business disruption is caused by foreseeable events and failure to appreciate this single fact is the root cause of much of the commercial losses incurred. If it can happen it will happen, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will happen.

The difference between losing £1,000,000 and a business completely unaffected can be the development of effective Continuity Planning. As proof of this, in our Continuity and Recovery research, we found that for the average large company a major event occurred every 2.3 years. For those that had tested and maintained plans the figure was closer to 9 years and while numbers alone can be misleading that’s still 2 out of three events AVOIDED completely.

WHY?

Business Continuity is closely linked to professional management and ‘best practice’ principles, organisations that adopt Business Continuity are demonstrating a commitment to their business and customers which entails hoping for the best but also preparing for the worst. Through this process companies have highlighted where the risks for business interruption lie within their operations and taken preventative measures to reduce their risk profile and also ensure that measures are maintained to ensure service can continue during any event.

"53% of companies recover less than 25% of the total losses incurred via Insurance"

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either the principle benefits can be gained from a Business Impact Analysis (BIA), which should highlight the Business Critical Paths to protect in your organisation. This should be firmly connected with the products, services and revenues of the company not focussed on internal issues that may have little bearing on the financial impact of the event.

"Fewer than 13% of companies undertake a regular Business Impact analysis"

What is the point of having protecting your financial records if all your customers have moved to other suppliers to fulfil orders you cannot meet? And recovering customers can be a time consuming and expensive process. Indeed our industry figures show the sales and opportunity cost to be the highest of any, post event.

"Fewer than 19% of FTSE companies have achieved compliance with the combined code"

The impact of business disruption is an important topic at strategic levels within regulators, legislators, investors and companies. Increasingly, failure to demonstrate ‘Risk Awareness’ is a sign of poor management standards. Through the ‘Combined Code’, FTSE companies are now required to demonstrate their Risk Awareness throughout the organisation though imbedded systems, which includes the supply chain, and report on this aspect of their operations in the annual accounts.

"84% of companies don ot identify risk through the supply chain even though 10% of events stem from this source"

With businesses increasing reliance upon technology it is vital that organisations examine their operations to highlight the measures will be effective in reducing or eliminating the potential for disruption or the risks posed as IT disruption causes well over 60% of recovery invocations. Don’t just concentrate on the core Finance Systems, consider the effect of disruption and the revenue earning connections with all the IT and Voice Systems in the organisation. In the last few years we have seen a tremendous growth in the use and importance of E.mail and E.commerce systems and alarmingly these systems are most often not included in the recovery or continuity planning. Perhaps the most overlooked area is Voice Communication with even Call Centres not having effective plans or measures in place in over 75% of sites.

Insurance

The Continuity Forum was the first to promote the direct linkage of Insurance and continuity practices. Our Continuity & Recovery 2000 report showed that few companies were able to see these connections, yet appropriate, thorough and company wide Continuity Management practices can clearly demonstrate to Insurers that risk mitigation has been carried out, enabling a lower risk profile.

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