What is business continuity?
Business continuity management is about preparing in advance to survive the impact of a critical incident or disruption. Business continuity management is a generic management framework that is valid across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is an ongoing process that helps organisations anticipate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disruptions. In essence, effective business continuity management helps build resilience and safeguard the interests of key stakeholders, reputation, brand, profit-creating activities and service delivery. A business continuity plan is a key element of business continuity and, as the name suggests, is simply a plan to keep the business in operation when an incident threatens to impact it.
Buncefield explosion, 2005
The fire at the Buncefield oil storage depot in Hemel Hempstead is one such example of a major disruption that has affected Hertfordshire. The impact on business included:
- 370 businesses out of a total of approximately 630 were evacuated during the incident;
- at least six of the buildings were designated for demolition and 30 more required major repairs before they could be reoccupied;
- 290 other businesses were disrupted for up to three days due to the emergency response and minor damage;
- 88 companies with 4,000 employees were still without their premises five weeks after the event; and
- the short-term business recovery costs have been estimated as £2.2 million and the longer-term costs as £100 million over 10 years.