Business Continuity Forum

The Financial Reporting Council has released its updated corporate governance code which builds and clarifies the responsibility on Listed companies.


The new code applies from 29 June 2010 and applies to those with a Premium Listing regardless of whether they are incorporated in the UK or elsewhere.

Resilience Planning underway for Londons Olympics

London has long and extensive experience of hosting large events, from the Millennium Celebrations through to the Notting Hill Carnival, and an advanced suite of regional plans to deal with emergencies of any type
Despite this, the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will require a step change because of the city-wide impacts as well and the Games' complexity and duration.
London Olympics Resilience'Games time' will necessitate operating for 64 days along with half a million extra spectators, over two hundred heads of state and thousands of members of the Olympic family in attendance; the numbers are vast and the scale of the challenge is clear.



For the past few years one of the key underlying drivers helping to develop Business Continuity has been the Public Sector. The introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act five years ago included clear responsibilities on many different types of government agencies as well as what can be termed as private sector utilities. In addition to the business continuity requirements on these organisations, there was a further "duty" to promote business continuity more broadly within the business community.

SME's still lack Back up protection


Most small and medium-size businesses are still failing to protect their firms vital data. This is the finding of a survey undertaken by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Acronis.

New Security and Counter Terrorism programme announced

Government enhances Counter Terrorism measures - CONTEST 2

The government has set out its enhanced strategy to combat the threat of Terrorism; known as CONTEST the policy shows the context and threat as well as the process adopted to counter the threat.

The briefing illustrates how terrorism has evolved in the UK and explains what led to the emergence of the threat we face today. It also examines how the threat may evolve over the next few years. The strategy sets out the principles that form the basis of the government’s response to terrorism.

Data Centres get CPNI Guidance to boost resilience and security

Business Continuity Forum

It is rare these days to find any organisation which does not rely in some way on computer data. From the very largest corporate through to the very smallest business the need to maintain access to information is absolutely vital. This seems pretty straightforward and it could be said almost simplistic, obvious even. Maybe so, but what about the data that has been removed from your direct control, that exists on the huge banks of servers and hard disks that are located across commercial data centres both in the UK and internationally.

Crisis communications - Ten factors that protect your organisation

Business Continuity Forum crisis management

Over the past six months there have been a number of headline stories that have affected some of the most trusted names in business.


BP is currently battling an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, for which their Chief Executive immediately accepted all blame and responsibility (even though BP themselves were not directly responsible) and promised to cover all the costs associated with the cleanup.


Toyota has been struggling with the difficulties surrounding recalls to a number of models due to defects reported extensively in the media, and now Johnson & Johnson is facing potential damage to its reputation following the findings of the US Food and Drug Administration. The report from the FDA this week states inspectors found thick dust and grime and contaminated ingredients at the Johnson & Johnson plant that produces children's Tylenol and dozens of other products which J&J recalled last week.


Back in 1943 Johnson & Johnson's chairman, John Wood Johnson who served for more than 30 years wrote their company credo, the forerunner of a modern Mission statement. He wrote that the company's first responsibility is "to the doctors, nurses, patients and parents who use its products and ensuring that consequently everything the company does must be of high quality"


Countering terrorism through design ... RIBA launch new guidelines

The bombing of London’s transport infrastructure on 7 July 2005 and the failed Underground bombings two weeks later, along with the abortive car bomb attacks targeting a central London nightclub and Glasgow Airport in June 2007, highlighted the importance of ensuring the critical parts of the UK’s national infrastructure are protected against terrorism.
Lord West of Spithead was commissioned by the government to review the UK’s preparedness for future terrorist attacks. His findings identified that a new effort to ‘design in’ counter- terrorism protective security was needed. In response, the Home Office and the Office for Communities and Local Government published new guidance on designing for counter-terrorism in the built environment.

CPNI & BSI launch new PAS standard for Food & Drink Industry

This Publicly Available Specification (PAS) was developed by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in collaboration with The British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2008. The original edition made use of preventative strategies within the World Health Organisation guidance on the Terrorist Threat to Food [1] which was revised in May 2008.

This new 2010 edition of PAS 96 has been reviewed by relevant stakeholders and amendments made to ensure its continued relevance and accuracy.

12 months on... Thoughts on a pandemic

As I write this, it is exactly one year since the first reported case of H1N1 (swine flu) arising from last year’s pandemic. It seems natural therefore to take a moment and consider what happened, how we responded, what was learned and perhaps even suggest a way forward.
The Continuity Forum has been actively researching and assessing the potential for major disruption from a pandemic type event for many years; our interest started on reviewing what happened around the SARS outbreak which impacted in the Far East and Canada. 

Election Blues for Business Continuity


 The Continuity Forum asks "Will the election impact on Business Continuity?"


As we enter the final few days of the various political parties campaigning we asked the question are there any implications to the business continuity profession. Over the past 13 years we have seen our profession transform from a relatively small niche specialisation to a far more widely understood professional discipline. Much of this has been achieved with the support of central government, through the Cabinet office and its civil contingencies Secretariat a huge amounts of development and promotion has been undertaken. This has transformed the landscape for those businesses working within the field and certainly helped those working to promote business continuity significantly.

CMI report charts an interesting year for the BCM profession

Disruption and resilience, 2010 from the CMI


Over the course of the past 10 years the annual Business Continuity study by the Chartered Management institute has plotted the progress and expansion of the profession. 2010 is no exception.  Over the past 12 months the country has faced widespread disruption through extreme weather events, recession and the potential posed by the swine flu pandemic ... it has been a year to challenge most working in the field.


Flight Chaos poses serious Business Continuity challenges


The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajoekull erupted on the 14th April hurling a plume of ash high into the atmosphere and grounding flights affecting nearly seven million travellers. 
Within hours of the decision to ground planes businesses started to count the cost with peoples travel plans collapsing and many becoming effectively stranded. The impact of the volcanic eruption is already being estimated as costing airlines £130million per day, although rail, ferry and some hotel operators are reporting massive increases in business as alternative arrangements are sought. 

Europe moves to better integrate resilience

The European Union has held its Third Civil Protection Forum where  more than 500 people heard Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment, set out his vision for a resilient Europe.
Over the last two decades, the number and severity of disasters has increased significantly. This trend is expected to continue - and as a result of climate change we can anticipate an increase in heat waves, storms and heavy rainfall. These changes in weather patterns will increase our vulnerability to events such as forest fires and floods.
These changes are already happening and the results are only too visible. Earlier this year forest fires circled Athens. In the last week we have seen unprecedented flooding across England and Ireland. The Irish flooding has been described by John Gormley, the Irish Minister for the Environment, as a ‘once-in-800-years’ event. But as the climate changes this type of event could become common place.
Every disaster is a human tragedy. Each year many people are killed and many more face severe disruption to their daily life. As well as the devastating cost to human life, the financial costs are also high. Disasters cost Europe €15 billion each year. Last week's floods in England have already cost an estimated €100 million.
For all of these reasons, there is an urgent need for Europe to develop its civil protection capacities to deal with increasing levels of risk. We need to develop a society that is more resilient to disasters – whether they are natural or man-made.
A more resilient Europe will require Member States to develop their own national business continuity and resilience capacities. But it is clear that these national efforts can be much more effective when complemented by action at the EU level.
When faced by a major disaster, the pooling of resources from different member states results in a common European response that is more effective than any member state could deliver on its own. These joint efforts can also be more cost-effective since individual governments no longer need to purchase equipment to deal with every possible disaster.
Working together also improves coordination - which is an essential element in any effective response. It is natural for governments to offer support in order to show solidarity with the victims of natural disasters. But, without clear coordination, there is a risk that assistance will be duplicated or that what is sent will not meet the real needs of the affected region. The best intentions need to be structured if they are to be effective. And the Community Mechanism allows the right assistance to be delivered to the right place and with the minimum delay.
The logic for developing a disaster management and business continuity policy across Europe is clear and compelling. In a recent EU survey, 90 percent of those questioned thought the EU should do more to provide support for Member States with disaster management.
This understanding, that by working together we can achieve more than by working alone, is why the last five years has seen the reinforcement of civil protection at the EU level. The Community Civil Protection Mechanism has developed into a strong tool that now handles over 20 emergencies per year. We are cooperating increasingly with international partners such as the United Nations.
The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre has become a central hub for European disaster response. The professionalism and dedication of the MIC team is outstanding and has contributed to the added value of the Community Mechanism in managing emergencies both inside and outside Europe.
Since 2007 we have been working hard to implement the new legal framework adopted by the Council, which has strengthened the Mechanism's tools as well as given us new opportunities to co-finance the transport of assistance and to develop readily available modules of civil protection equipment.
A number of these specialist modules have been established to respond to emergencies more quickly. This approach ensures that the European response is swift and that European teams have experience in working together.
With the support of the European Parliament, we were also able to make two fire-fighting planes available this summer to help Member States fight forest fires. The two planes conducted operations in France, Greece, Italy and Portugal and this tactical reserve is a great example of European added value in responding to natural disasters.
To improve our response capacity, we are also looking at the possibilities to develop an EU Rapid Response Capability that would ensure that key resources and essential equipment are always available to form a part of the European response.
In addition to emergency response, prevention policies are an essential part of a holistic approach to civil protection. Following a policy document that was adopted last year, the European Commission is currently in the process of developing a Community approach that can contribute to national prevention efforts.
A starting point will be to improve our information about disasters and their impacts. To do this we are developing guidelines on risk assessment and risk mapping. We are also drawing up an inventory of existing sources of information on disasters. Data on the economic impact of disasters, for example, is likely to be an important tool for assessing the costs and benefits of prevention measures.
In order to share ideas and information between stakeholders we are setting-up a European network for disaster prevention.
There is also a clear need for better communication activities aimed at the general public. A recent survey on Civil Protection showed that only one third of EU citizens are aware of their own country's policies on Business Continuity, disaster prevention, preparedness and response. Even fewer – around 15 percent of citizens – feel informed about policies at EU level.
The European Commission already has a strong role in coordinating and linking the key players in disaster management and we can build on this in future.
In the coming years, the EU will need to develop a disaster management strategy to complement Member States' disaster management plans. In order to improve Europe's resilience, this strategy will need to be comprehensive and cover prevention, preparedness and response.
This is an ambitious objective. But the changes that will be brought in by the Lisbon Treaty - which will come into force in less than one week’s time - mean that it is a realistic level of ambition.
The new Treaty will provide a specific legal basis for civil protection. It will mean that decisions will be taken by qualified majority voting. It introduces a solidarity clause and an obligation for Member States to assist each other. And finally, the Treaty enhances the role of the European Parliament - and by doing so it will allow the opinion of EU citizens to be better reflected in shaping EU policy.
The frequency of natural and man-made disasters is increasing and climate change, the greatest threat facing our planet, will make this worse. To deal with these threats we need to further improve the capacity of our civil protection forces. And one important way in which to do this will be to develop the ways in which European-level action can complement national responses. The next Commission will have the opportunity of building on the good work of the last years and making sure that European civil protection authorities have the right tools at their disposal to react to any type of emergency situation. It will also be faced with the challenge of building effective prevention policies.


Massive leap in hospital admissions despite a 'mild' Pandemic

The NHS faced a sevenfold increase in people admitted for flu last year (2009) it has revealed with 33,376 bed days taken up by people against only 4,163 in 2008.

The rise was worst in the last quarter of the year with some 20,744 hospitalised between October and December compared to 1,585 in the same quarter of 2008.

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