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How to write a Business Continuity Plan

Risk Managemen Committee

A good way to visualise a business continuity plan is to think of it as a framework, rather than a huge document that describes a detailed process to be followed. Real-life experience shows us that these gargantuan documents are of little use during a crisis. Those responsible for for managing incidents need information that is concise and can be accessed quickly.  That's why effective business continuity plan development initiative generates several different types of document, some which help later stages of development, some which are used for reference purposes, some which demonstrate to third parties that you have robust plans AND maintenance processes and others that provide support and guidance when disaster strikes.  We have described below some examples of the most important templates that form a comprehensive business continuity plan and you'll see how each of these are developed in our free business continuity plan development video. If you feel that these templates could help you, all of these templates - and more - are included in the business continuity plan templates pack which you can securely download from this site.

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 1

 Priorities Assessment

This is the initial stage of business continuity plan development. Some call it a Business Impact Assessment (or "BIA"), others may refer to it as a risk assessment.  What we decide to call it is less important than what this step actually does - which is the process of identifying the most important activities that need to be kept running to ensure staff safety,  maintain customer goodwill and assure the survival of your organisation. Once you have identified what is important you can then start to consider what your overall capabilities are to meet these priorities, especially  in terms of people, premises, IT and other resources. The first stage of Module 1 in our business continuity training course takes you through these process and shows you some tools you can use to capture and analyse this information

Example Business Impact Assessment (BIA) template

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 2

Establishing Basic Recovery Capabilities.

Your overall ability for recovering IT systems, establishing alternative workplace arrangements and acquiring alternative equipment will determine whether or not your organisation has the intrinsic ability to recover from a major operational disruption. This stage draws in colleagues from the areas of the organisation that deliver these core capabilities and captures their feedback on what they can currently provide and whether this is sufficient to meet the organisations business continuity priorities. part 2 of Module 1 in the business continuity training course explains this process and shows you some tools that you can use to get the job done

Example business continuity plan template
Business Continuity Plan Development Free Video

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 3

Develop Departmental Plans

 This is where we get down into the "nitty gritty" of how the organisations activities are restored after certain types of disaster. Having established what can be done in terms of IT systems, alternative working arrangements and equipment, we get to the stage of defining actions plans for specific activities, deciding who does what where and when and who they need to communicate and collaborate with.  These "plans" are working documents that describe key actions, team members, roles and relationships. Part 3 of Module 1 of our free business continuity training course takes you through the steps for creating departmental plans.

Example incident response plan template

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 4

Establish a Communications Framework

This part is the glue that holds together departmental action plans and the core capabilities recovery activities.  Also factored in are communications needs external to the organisation such as suppliers and customers.  The communications framework helps to define who will be responsible for communicating with particular groups and how that communication will be performed. The final part of Module 1 in free business continuity training course shows you how to develop a communications framework for your organisation

Example incident communications template

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 5 Incident Management

 Getting control of an incident, understanding it's implications and severity and deciding on the correct response helps a senior management team to achieve "command & control" of different types of incident and to then initiate the relevant business continuity capabilities of the organisation. A well-designed crisis or incident management plan will provide a clear road-map to navigate these situations. Module 2 of our business continuity training course shows you how to develop an incident management plan

Example incident response plan template

How to Write a Business Continuity Plan - step 6

Plan Assurance & Organisational Awareness

This final stage of business continuity plan development focusses on keeping your plan fit for for purpose and that everyone understands their role.  Keeping your colleagues informed of what they need to know about business continuity arrangements, what will happen during a major incident, what they need to know (and do) during a major and where they will get information ensures that your whole organisation is prepared for the unexpected. Providing this information during initial employee and contractor  onboarding and via regular "refreshers" keeps everyone informed and prepared. Module 3 of our business continuity training course shows you how to implement an assurance programme to ensure your plan remains current and relevant and demonstrates an organisational awareness programme to inform and engage the wider organisation.

Example Business Continuity Awareness Training
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Topics Covered in the Business Continuity Plan Video
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