Scottish Power is aiming to tighten its response to business interruptions by applying for accreditation under a new British Standard for business continuity.
The company said it could "raise the bar" on its business continuity planning by becoming one of the first organisations to win external accreditation for its work.
The project will underpin a programme to ensure that the utility's key suppliers also have robust business continuity plans, said Gordon Irving, director of group security at Scottish Power.
"The new standard gives us a finishing line to make sure we are compliant," he said. "It actually raises the bar. It makes people ensure they attain these higher standards."
Scottish Power began embedding processes to comply with BS25999 three years ago, while the standard was still in development. The standard is the first to create a recognised benchmark for business continuity planning.
Each part of the business is expected to produce a three-year business continuity plan, which will be updated annually. The company will test the plans each year by devising disaster scenarios and working out best-practice responses and then conducting live tests.
Scottish Power has commissioned consultants to develop software tools to manage its compliance with the standard. These will allow managers to develop business continuity plans online and to track compliance with business continuity principles across the organisation.
In an emergency, managers will be able to access business continuity plans and communicate with other parts of the business through a dedicated website.
Scottish Power plans to work with its main suppliers to ensure they also meet the standard, and business continuity compliance will become a condition when contracts are renewed.
"It will give me that level of comfort that people have reached a certain standard in business continuity. At the moment, the picture is variable," said Irving.
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Aims of BS25999
- BS25999 is designed to provide a system based on good practice for business continuity management
- It serves as a single reference point for most situations where business continuity management is practised
- It is applicable to both large and small organisations in the public and private sectors.
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