Tenth Annual BCM study Published

10th Annual BCM report published by Cabinet Office and CMI

The CMI 2009 Business Continuity Management report reveals a pressing need for UK organisations to guard against disruption and to be wary of complacency towards possible risks. Supported by the Cabinet Office, the survey shows that 52 per cent of organisations across the UK have a business continuity plan (BCP) - the highest level recorded by the survey.

However, the percentage of managers reporting that continuity is regarded as important in their organisation has fallen over the past year from 76 per cent to 64 per cent.

Electronic attack (58 per cent) and human disease (57 per cent) represented the two greatest concerns facing organisations. Below are some of the key findings:

• More widespread adoption of business continuity management: the number of organisations with specific business continuity plans covering their operations has increased slightly to 52 per cent, compared to 47 per cent in 2008. This is the highest score ever recorded by the survey.

• Organisations remain complacent about continuity: despite the more widespread adoption of BCM, the percentage of managers reporting that continuity is regarded as important in their organisation has fallen over the past year from 76 per cent to 64 per cent.

• Identifying risk: electronic attack and human disease – such as pandemic influenza – are the two greatest concerns facing organisations, identified by 58 and 57 per cent respectively.

• Influenza pandemic planning: despite recognising the threat posed by diseases such as influenza, 53 per cent of organisations still have no plans to help them cope during a pandemic.

• Most common disruptions: over the past year, 40 per cent of organisations suffered disruption due to a loss of IT. Other key sources of disruption were extreme weather, loss of people, loss of telecommunications, and utility outages.

• Reliability of plans: over two thirds of organisations rehearse their business continuity plans, suggesting a growing acceptance of the evidence that rehearsals are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of planning. Seventy five per cent of those who had exercised their plans said that the exercises had revealed shortcomings.

• Remote working: around half of respondents (53 per cent) report that they could continue to work to a great extent by working remotely in the event of a disruption.

Petra Wilton, director of policy and research at the Chartered Management Institute says: “Despite warnings, and in spite of the huge publicity surrounding natural and malicious disasters, it seems that employers still have a long way to go before they can claim to be truly resilient. Particularly now, with revenue and cash-flow under pressure, the last thing any business needs is disruption to their services. In short, the UK will continue to suffer lost revenue unless business continuity management is taken seriously from the top, and throughout organizations.”

Bruce Mann, director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, says: “It is easy to put off attending to risks, and let thought of business continuity preparation slip down the agenda. This short sightedness can be extremely costly. A failure to provide adequate protection could mean more than a minor headache lasting a few hours or days, but could mean a loss of trade to competitors and the eventual failure of an organization.”

Forum Comment

This years study makes interesting reading and shows some progress amongst responsible organisations, but there are two worrying issues that seem to be continuing to challenge the sector.

Despite legislation and tighter regulation nearly half of corporates have not adopted BCM into their working practices and we'll be looking at this in some detail in a major piece to be published shortly.

The other concern is the situation for SME organisations; SME's account for more than half of the UK GDP and the majority of employment. They are key to the economic and community wellbeing of our society, yet these organisations remain critically vulnerable as for the most part they have not adopted BCM into their businesses. Of course we understand the difficulties faced, but the trouble they are storing up for when an event strikes usually reeks havoc and especially with the current economic climate it proves doubly tough to survive.

We have been conducting a special research programme over the past 4 months looking at the challenges of persuading and engaging with sector and will be publishing this on the launch of the new Continuity Forum Website in April.


The Continuity Forum has held the 6th Special Summit on Business Continuity and Special Risks. 

A key Feature of the Summer summit was be the progress on Pandemic and associated Public Sector Planning.  For further information on the details of this event and its findings contact us on the details below.

For more details on our events, workshops and industry development work, as well as the general activities of the Continuity Forum please contact us directly on +44 208 993 1599 or mail us HERE!

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.