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Businesses still complacent about business continuity, warns CMI

Bill Goodwin

Businesses and public sector organisations  in the UK are showing an “alarming level of complacency” when it comes to business continuity planning, a major research  project reveals.

The 2007 Business Continuity Management Survey, which questioned 1,257 organisations, shows that only 48% have business continuity plans in place, dropping to 34% for smaller organisations.

The research, by the Chartered Management Institute, shows that even when firms have plans in place, organisations are failing to test that they actually work.

More than a third of organisations do nothing with their plans once developed, and 15% fail to act on any shortcomings they identify.

“Events from the Carlisle floods to the London bombings and Buncefield explosion have clearly shown the vast range of impacts that emergencies can have. Yet despite these, there are still too many organisations with insufficient business continuity plans,” said Bruce Mann, director of civil contingencies at the cabinet office.

Although 61% of organisations outsource work to third parties, only 22% demand that their critical suppliers have business continuity plans in place. Of those that do, only a third inspect their suppliers plans, and 17% get involved in the plans' development.

Although many of the organisations questioned said they were concerned about the impact of losing access to their premises, only half said they were strongly ready for remote working.

Managers identified IT failure as the issue most likely to impact future costs, followed by telecoms failure, and loss of access to work sites. However, a growing number fear the impact that loss of people and skills.

On the positive side, 55% have put plans in place for a possible flu pandemic, and two thirds have access to alternative work sites in place.

The latest research from the Chartered Management Institute

Expect mass staff exodus in disaster, says survey

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