North Devon Homes has been working with Biscon Planning, a Gloucestershire-based risk and business continuity consultancy, for the past nine months to develop a business continuity management System to improve its resilience.
The programme began with a series of meetings with key areas of NDH to identify the business-critical activities and the resources needed to carry out those activities. This was followed with the production of a comprehensive risk assessment and business impact analysis, allowing NDH to fully identify the range of risks to the business and their possible impact on business-critical activities.
An incident management team was established and trained to respond to the activities needing action within the first few minutes and hours of an incident so that a logical recovery process could then be carried out to protect critical activities.
The initial programme also included a business continuity audit of key suppliers to identify any potential threats to NDH’s supply chain. A questionnaire was sent out and follow-up conversations between Biscon and key suppliers identified any weaknesses, with advice offered to NDH and relevant suppliers where necessary.
Within six months of starting the initial project, a business continuity plan (BCP) had been developed and the incident management team had received the necessary training from Biscon. This included a walk-through of a range of desktop scenarios using the BCP, allowing the team to understand how to make prompt and effective decisions in response to an incident.
In addition to the BCP, a contingency plan was also developed to help NDH deal with incidents affecting its residents, such as short- or long-term evacuation of their homes. Finally, a wallet-sized ‘z-fold’ version of the BCP was produced for the members of the incident management team, containing the essential information from the plan that would be needed in the early stages of an incident.
Nasreen Hussain, director of resources, North Devon Homes, said, “Biscon used a partnership approach; building on our processes and working with our staff and suppliers alike. They were highly professional in the manner in which they worked, delivering promptly and exactly what was required.”