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Writing a Business Continuity Plan

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A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is one of the most important documents a company can possess.

It is a good, inexpensive form of insurance in the event of any disruption to business, and is a pass/fail requirement in most PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) documents.

A BCP highlights how your company will operate and continue to do business when faced with an internal or external disaster, such as flood, fire or illness. Without a business continuity plan your company may be excluded from the tender process due to a lack of compliance, resulting in a loss of work and potentially of ‘must win’ business.

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DCP) is sometimes confused with a Business Continuity Plan. A DCP is aimed more at how to recover as opposed to continuing business after recovery. Both of these documents are very important and are essential for any business, so it is possible to combine them into a single policy for convenience.

If you are writing a BCP it is best to break it down into stages to make it more manageable. Although it is relatively simple to compile, getting it right can be very difficult. The document must be Firstly, identify the key internal personnel critical to your business. These are the people the document will focus on so you need to list all their information and how to contact them in an emergency.

Once you have established who your essential employees are, address issues relating to their work in the case of an emergency. Can they, for example, telecommute? If for whatever reason there is no access to your office, your employees must be able to continue their work until something else can be put in place. Along with this you need to list all the equipment critical to your business and ensure that you have off-site backups of all necessary information.

Outside contacts such as accountants, banks, consultants and associates must also be listed within the document. This section may also include key contacts of clients along with utility companies. Important documents should also be saved in an off-site location and information relating to this should be included within your BCP.

One of the most important parts of the Business Continuity Plan relates to a complete facility loss: the identification of a contingency location. This is a temporary place where you conduct business until a primary location is reinstated. You should include a map of this location within your BCP.
The document needs to be well laid out so that all information is easily accessible and can be found whenever required. It is also important to test your BCP to ensure that should the time come, you are able to carry it out.

If you are struggling to write your Business Continuity Plan, call Executive Compass® free on 0800 612 5563. We specialise in providing fully compliant, unique plans for any business and our documents have never failed.

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