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Stage 3: Developing the response

Once you've decided on your strategy (and remember you're more likely to have different strategies for each of your critical activities), it's important to understand how you can determine the impact of the incident on your business, as well as how and when you'll know to activate your plan.

Activation planning

There are many areas to consider at this stage. It's best to identify in advance:

  • how you'll understand the scale of disruption to the business, especially by being able to determine the impact on critical functions
  • who would decide to activate your BCM plan, who would be assisting them, and what specific roles and responsibilities they would fulfil
  • what resources you need to maintain your critical activities in an emergency, and how you'll make these available
  • who you'll need to communicate with - staff, customers, suppliers, partner organisations, regulators, investors and other stakeholders

Action planning

You can now write a timetabled action plan for use in an emergency.

This must concentrate on the critical 'must-do' activities, rather than the things we would enjoy doing or are the easiest to do.

It should cover at least the following:

  1. The decision-making process. Who makes the difficult decisions? Ensure this process is clear and understood and there are deputies nominated
  2. Communications strategy. Who should be contacted, and by whom? Make sure the plan includes a list of key contacts, including staff, suppliers, building firms (for repairs), and customers
  3. A time-driven and prioritised recovery process. When should specified processes be complete, and in what order of importance?
  4. Actions and activities. Ensure the plan shows how the business will continue to operate, which members of staff and external contractors are required, what other resources (IT, premises, transport, and so on) are needed, and from where you'll get these resources

Some helpful templates

To help you complete your BCM plan, we have produced templates and guidance documents you're welcome to use.

These are:

  1. a template for a simple BCM plan, in which you can fill in the blanks to get the process started. This is accompanied by a set of guidance notes
  2. a suggested starting list for an emergency pack, which contains essential information and equipment for responding to an emergency. You should keep one pack on site, which you'll remove with the staff if they evacuated the building. Another pack should be kept away from the workplace, for responding to an incident outside of normal working hours
  3. a template for a site plan document, which gives details of the location of key items on your business premises. The London Fire Brigade would use this in dealing with an incident on your premises - for example, the location of utility supply shut-off switches or hazardous materials