The Group is heavily involved with work surrounding the all aspects of business continuity specifically looking at areas of interest to members.
Previously members of the Group were involved in the consultation process being undertaken by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat for the regulations and guidance documentation of the Civil Contingencies Act and the development of BS25999. The Group has also developed links with practitioners in China and has supplied speakers to several delegations from China.
To see scheduled meetings and minutes from previous meetings please log in to the secure area of the website using your EPS membership username and password.
If you would like further information about joining the group or you have a particular business continuity related topic that feel should be addressed please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our contact details are as follows:
- To represent the Emergency Planning Society (EPS) on Business Continuity related activities.
- To report key activities of the Group to the main body of the EPS through the Director of Business Services.
- To act as the professions main liaison body to facilitate the ongoing development and continuous improvement of business Continuity and its associated guidance.
- To liaise with, and influence the development of national policy through the relevant UK and European agencies.
- To represent the Society on key national working groups (e.g. British Standards, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, etc).
- To establish internal working sub-groups as necessary, to progress specific areas of main Group activities.
- To share information with the wider EPS membership and external bodies in order to promote best practice.
- To promote the EPS through the delivery of presentations and attendance at other forums.
- To encourage participation and sharing of work by all members through regular attendance and personal contribution.
- To prepare and maintain an annual Business Plan and report activity against targets.
- To review Group membership and the re-elect the Chair, Vice chair and Secretary appointments on an annual basis.
An Update from the Professional Working Group – Business Continuity (PWG-BC)
The Professional Working Group for Business Continuity (PWG-BC) is just one of the 11 professional working groups within the EPS. The group has responsibility for representing the EPS on all Business Continuity related matters, this includes representation on national working groups such as British Standards and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat.
The aim of this article is: to raise the awareness and profile of the PWG-BC amongst the EPS membership; to set out its role; and highlight some of the current themes being addressed within the group.
The PWG-BC is available to address the needs of the EPS members by reviewing and responding to any areas of concern that are raised at either local or national forums or by direct correspondence to the group.
Where an issue is identified, and it is felt that further action is required, a working sub-group will be established. This sub-group will be formed around a nucleus of PWG-BC members, where appropriate additional expertise may be invited into the group or joint working with another PWG may be undertaken.
The group currently has 24 members on its distribution list, comprising a mix of both Public and Private sector business continuity practitioners. There is a vast depth of knowledge and experience within the group. We are fortunate that many of the groups’ current members are also involved with national and international working groups through their affiliation with other bodies, such as financial services, academia, government agency or the BCI.
The group has been heavily involved with the development of the BS 25999 and still has representation on the British Standards working group. Since its release over 4,100 copies of Part 1 and over 1150 copies of part 2 have been sold (part 2 has only been available since December). This shows the level of interest that has been shown in the new standard by businesses across the country, and beyond. In fact several organisations have already achieved BS25999 certification. There is also a lot of interest to see whether BS2599 will be adopted as an International Standard.
Members should be aware of the other standards that are being developed such as the ‘Societal Security – Guidance for incident preparedness and operational continuity management’ ISO/PAS 22399:2007. This document talks about, amongst other things, Operational Continuity being the new term for Business Continuity. Although still in draft form, if this becomes the new international standard it will have a direct impact on BS25999.
SHOULD WE INCLUDE A REFERENCE AS TO HOW MEMBERS CAN OBTAIN A COPY OF THE DRAFT AND ASK FOR THEIR COMMENTS TO BE DIRECTED TO THIS GROUP SO THAT EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION AGAINST THE DRAFT CAN BE MADE? What do you think?
Terms & Definitions
The group is keen to try and standardise the terms and definitions used in all aspects of business continuity. Currently business continuity can fall under the control of the dedicated business continuity practitioner, the risk manager or the emergency planner. Risk managers use different terminology to that of emergency planners and of business continuity practitioners. The plan is to develop a glossary of terms that can be used by all which will hopefully reduce some of the confusion, for example, what is the difference between Incident and Crisis management? BCM should not be clouded with smoke and mirrors, it should be simple to understand and easy to implement.
Incident Response Public/Private – Who does what?
It has become clear that many private sector businesses do not have a full understanding of the roles and functions of the emergency services and local authorities during a major incident. Whilst many organisations have developed very thorough and detailed Incident Management Plans to deal with the initial response, they lack a clear understanding of how to integrate with those responders. Understanding the requirements of the emergency services to make a site safe; the implications to access a site should it be deemed a scene of crime, even matters such as the reporting a sudden and/or accidental death are not fully understood by many.
Several excellent documents currently exist within local resilience forums that outline emergency response procedures. The need for a simple guide for businesses is evident. The document will explain how the emergency services, voluntary sector emergency resources and local authority and public sector agencies integrate and respond to a major incident. It would also explain how the private sector would address the issues such as; evacuation, accounting for staff, relocating people, health and safety, activation of DR site. This should benefit a transfer of knowledge and understanding across all sectors.
Advice and assistance to businesses and the voluntary sector
Local authorities have a duty under the CCA to provide advice and assistance to local businesses and voluntary organisations. Some excellent work has been done to promote awareness and provide this advice, but it appears that the results have not been consistent across the country.
Many of the larger multinational and national organisations employ dedicated Business Continuity Managers who, in some cases, will have a greater awareness and understanding of the business continuity process than their Local Authority counter part. Many of who more often than not have a dual role to play in either the emergency planning or risk office.
It is the engagement of small businesses that has been the greatest challenge. The London Assembly recently released ‘Prepared for the worst’ which specifically looks at ways of promoting and coordinating business continuity within the Capital.
Please find below a list of websites that promote business continuity:
UK Local Authority Sites:
Cardiff City Council
Manchester City Council
Surrey County Council
Edinburgh City Council