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Selecting a Business Continuity Plan Template 

BCP Roadmap

This information will help you to evaluate the right  business continuity plan template for you and your organisation.  A good template can help you to speed up develop a business continuity plan for your organisation by helping you to structure various aspects of your plan and guide you to include the right information in it.  In essence a well constructed business continuity plan template will guide you to develop a plan that has appropriate scope and content that is useful to your organisation and will stand up to external assessment & evaluation.

Always bear in mind that a business continuity plan must meet a number of needs - for both clear and concise guidance to help during a major incident, to help maintain and prove business continuity capabilities going forward, and to demonstrate to external parties that you have polices and management processes in place.  That's all part of the business continuity plan template. So if you are looking to purchase a business continuity plan template, here's some information to help you decide whether you are buying something that will be of lasting value to your organisation.

Buying a Business Continuity Plan Template - Overview

Using a business continuity plan template to create a business continuity plan for your organisation should give you several benefits when compared with trying to find your own way this process.  A business continuity plan template should:

  1. Save you time by providing layouts of different sections of a business continuity plan that are tailored to the job they are required to do

  2. Guide you to include relevant information in each part of the plan

  3. Give you checklists at key points so that you can ensure that you have included all relevant information in all sections of the business continuity plan.

  4. DO NOT expect you to have additional software products in place - most organisations can maintain their business continuity plans using standard Microsoft Office tools such excel, Word & PowerPoint

This page will run through each section of a "good practice" business continuity plan template that you can use to ensure that you are buying a business continuity plan template that will genuinely help you to develop and effective business continuity plan for your organisation.​

Business Continuity Plan Template section-by-section

Business Continuity Plan Template Section 1- Risks, Priorities, Tolerances and Response

This section sets the parameters for the whole business continuity plan. In this section you will identify the risks your organisation faces in terms of operations disruption, the potential consequences of disruptions, what your priorities will be if they occur and the core capabilities you have (in place to recover and minimise impact. This part Business Continuity Plan templates should be Excel based to allow for what-if and modelling activities - especially during the early stage of business continuity plan development.

In terms of response plans these follow-on from the above activities and outline the actions to be taken by each part of the organisation, who will take these actions and when. These tools are generally developed using a Word template.  The Business Continuity Plan Template for this should be brief (it has to be used in a high pressure situation). Information that should be included in this part of the Business Continuity Plan Template should be

  • Key roles 

  • Contact details for individuals filling key roles.

  • Usage of communications facilities available to recovery team members, how to activate and use them

  • Dealing with different types of impact and any specific actions associated with the impact

  • Different phases of the business cycle (i.e. month-end, financial reporting deadlines etc.).

Our Business Continuity Plan Template provides the resources required for this stage of business continuity plan development 

 

Business Continuity Plan Template Section 2 - Major Incident Response
Whilst the whole organisation will be involved in recovering from a major disruption and specific parts of the organisation will have key roles to play in that recovery, there's a key role to be played by the senior management of the organisation and a business continuity plan template needs to reflect this. This section provides an outline of the actions senior management should do to assess a situation and get command and control of an incident.  This aspect of the business continuity plan template should guide you to consider:

  • The members of senior management who will lead the incident response

  • Contact details

  • Resources available for communication between the senior management team and the wider organisation.

The organisations external communications strategies should be considered here and a "comms strategy" for customers, community and other stakeholders should be developed. Your Business Continuity Plan Template should provide a format for this and should include:

  • The audience that the "comms strategy" is aimed at

  • Who will be responsible for delivering the strategy

  • How they will deliver it

Our Business Continuity Plan Template includes the resources to cover this stage of business continuity plan development

Business Continuity Plan Template Section 3 - Management & Oversight

This section of a business continuity plan template helps you to deploy, embed & maintain the completed business continuity plan within your organisation. If you are reading this because your old BCP has completely decayed and needs to be re-written, you won't want all your current work to go the same way.   It's important that the business continuity plan template helps you to establish a management system to ensure that the business continuity plan remains fit for purpose. The Management & Oversight section of the Business Continuity Plan Template should help you to develop:

  • A business Continuity Policy document that provides an outline of what senior management expects the organisation to do in terms of development and maintenance  of business continuity plans

  • A schedule of maintenance activities to ensure that the plan is kept up to date (such as reviews an test)

  • An issues log that tracks concerns and problems and their resolution

  • An organisation and responsibilities matrix, showing responsibilities for plan maintenance

  • Awareness material for the wider organisation - so that everyone knows what to do if disaster strikes

Our Business Continuity Plan Template gives you the resources needed to complete this stage of business continuity plan development

A Business Continuity Plan Template that covers these points will get you over the line, helping you to quickly develop a robust business continuity plan and give interested parties a warm feeling about your capabilities to respond and recover from a major incident

  • Steve Dance Managing Partner
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