A Business Continuity Management (BCM) Strategy in a community establishes the fundamentals of sustainability and resilience in that community. A BCM Strategy provides the foundation of developing a new mindset, philosophy and culture within the community. The Business Continuity Plan is the operational tool of that culture. In order for a community to be able to maintain reasonable operation throughout an adverse event, it must first be prepared to do so.
While Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a process and tool primarily for business operations sustainability, it is also a fundamental component to emergency planning. BCM theory, process and operations can be lent to community planning as well. Not only is it critical to enable a community to function in times of crisis, the community must also support any response initiatives that the community initiates. BCM is a culture that must be ingrained into the community; it becomes a part of normal operations and must be maintained in order that it remains viable when needed.
Business Continuity Management undertakes all necessary steps to develop a Business Continuity Plan within an All Hazards framework to include: a Hazard, Vulnerability Risk Assessment to understand what hazards could present to the community; Site Assessments of the community’s offices and infrastructures to identify any vulnerabilities that may be present; a comprehensive Business Impact Assessment (BIA) of the community’s business functions in order to identify what hazard impacts affect which business functions and to identify and prioritize the community’s Mission Critical Activities (MCAs). Based on the BIA, appropriate Recovery Strategies will be developed to facilitate operation of MCAs throughout a business interruption and assist in restoring the business functions to as near normal as possible post event.
A Business Continuity Management Strategy provides a clear commitment by the Community to business continuance. A BCM strategy also ensures that, in accordance with best practices, the most mission critical tasks are identified and prioritized in the event of an emergency scenario. Instituting a current and effective BCM strategy is the most prudent plan of action to reduce the risk of material and financial loss, and general service disruption in the event of an emergency situation.
The BCP will be based on recognized standards of corporate governance and best practices. It will identify what internal and external dependencies are involved in the delivery of services through constant communication between the community’s various identified internal and external stakeholders.
The BCM Strategy should be outlined within the BCM Project Plan document. The Project Plan contains the Project Charter, relevant Policy Statements, Working Group Terms of Reference, Work Plan, Resources Guide and a Budget. The Project Plan details, explains and shows the road map that was designed to accomplish the magnitude of work that will be undertaken to complete the BCP and institute the culture within the community.
By identifying appropriate people and assigning them to appropriate Business Continuity Teams, the Recovery Strategies can be initialized and maintained during an event. As the event terminates, restoration to as near normal can be operationalized by returning the MCA business functions back on line and then returning all other business functions that have been off line to normal operations.
By instilling the BCM Strategy within the culture, the community will be better able to determine the use of personnel and other resources at times when both may be scarce. A sound BCM will reduce the period of disruption to the community and the public it serves. By taking the appropriate steps in advance, the community can improve the resilience of infrastructures and reduce the likelihood of disruption. Should a disruption occur, the operational and financial impact on the community would be greatly reduced.
A BCP is a planning tool that is the result of a comprehensive BCM strategy and is activated as a result of an incident or emergency situation that interrupts the Community’s business functions. It enables the work unit to provide mission critical services in the event of an interruption of business, major incident or emergency situation. A BCP identifies the primary services and then profiles the Mission Critical Activities (MCAs). The BCP is addressed in an “all hazards approach” that assumes that any disaster could potentially affect the Community’s operations. BCM ensures that essential services have the necessary contingencies in place so that business can continue through an emergency and resume as quickly as possible post event.
IDENTIFICATION OF BUSINESS FUNCTION
The first step is to fully understand and appreciate the ‘TRUE’ work of the community. Start off strategically or at a high level, this work can usually be derived from the Vision, Mission or Mandate statements of the community. To start compile a listing of the Key Areas of Responsibility. Depending on the community this list may be brief or very complex.
In the true sense of the word, ‘Community’ the areas of responsibility may include work such as physical branches or internal departments like: the Mayors Office; Police, Fire, Public Works, Recreation and so on, while in a ‘corporate’ context in may include: the Executive Offices, Finance, Production, Human Resources, Physical Plant etc.
At this point the community has self identified the global areas of responsibility and the specific work that is associated with those areas. What is left to do is to understand what is required to have that work be successfully completed. By conducting an in-depth Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and studying each BFA in detail, the business continuity manager will be able to understand the infrastructures, equipment, human resources, communications, dependencies, stakeholder contacts and business requirements that are necessary to support the work. This is very important to capture as it provides insight into the mission criticality of the work and then consequently the Recovery Strategies that must be developed to maintain business continuance for this work.