Finding a good quality, simple and easy to use Business Continuity Plan template isn’t as easy as you might think considering that we’re all supposed to be preparing ourselves for emergencies, with many templates locked behind paywalls or requiring you to be members of professional networks to gain access.
Helpfully, some councils in the UK have template business continuity plans on their websites in meeting their business resilience promotion duties, although these are often highly tailored to their local regions.
Below you can find a free template business continuity plan and general guidance to help you use this template so it meets your needs in preparing your business, service or organisation for disruption and emergencies.
You can find the free Business Continuity Plan template here:
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A Business Continuity Plan (or BCP in the lingo) should provide the information you need, when you need it – i.e. when everything is falling apart, often rapidly.
A BCP should support an organisation in getting the right people and resources together to manage a disruption or emergency quickly and efficiently. It should be a single, quick reference guide that will provide a crutch to decision making and identify key actions to perform when everything is collapsing around you.
This template BCP is designed to be as streamlined as practicable; helping you to identify key information quickly whilst providing advice to support businesses, services or organisations for most disruptive events, while remaining short and easily referenceable.
Make the Business Continuity Plan fit your needs and your organisation
Any plan should fit the requirements, culture and processes of an organisation. Feel free to download, adapt and develop the plan to fit your organisation, the way you work and what you are willing to do to prepare for an emergency.
A Business Continuity Plan won’t make an organisation resilient, but the process of developing it and practicing it will help. The plan should be the end point of a process of engagement, research and design; working with colleagues and stakeholders to analyse a business, identify risks and design actions to respond to those risks becoming a reality.
Take your time in developing your plan, it will help you keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs.
And don’t forget to test it out! There’s nothing worse than putting effort into designing a contingency plan that doesn’t work when you need it.
For more information on business continuity management and organisational resilience, please see other mistofmanagement.net articles on business resilience and continuity planning, including:
- What is Business Continuity? An introduction to Business Continuity as a concept and programme of work
- Preparing your business for emergencies and disruption – key tips and ideas for improving the resilience of any business or organisation for disruption and emergencies
- What is Organisational Resilience? – an exploration of ‘organisational resilience’ as a concept and how it complements Business Continuity Planning
- Free Business Continuity Plan template (BCP) – A free template BCP and general advice for any organisation seeking to develop a Business Continuity Plan
Find an expert
Finally, consider hiring a business continuity expert to support you in analysing your business for risks, vulnerabilities, opportunities and critical functions. You probably know all this inherently but a good, qualified Business Continuity practitioner can help you to order and structure your organisation’s collective knowledge in the context of preparing for unusual and unexpected disruption.
In the UK your local council may be able to provide general advice on business continuity and link you into support networks.
If you need help in finding a Business Continuity practitioner, contact mistofmanagement.net here.
More information on Business Continuity
If you would like to know more about how to apply Business Continuity to your organisation, here’s some links below:
- Business Continuity for Dummies is a good, well-structured guide to Business Continuity developed with the UK’s Government Cabinet Office. It does a reasonably good job of explaining business continuity in a nearly plain English way, simplifying or removing jargon. You can buy it on Amazon here or you can download a sample chapter on Quick Wins from the UK Government website here
- Official UK Government guidance – UK Government website – Preparing for Emergencies – provides a good overview on preparing your business for emergencies, as well as links to insurers, 10 minutes Business Continuity plans, business health checks and guidance on cyber security
- Mist of Management.net (shameless plug!) – Has a number of articles on resilience planning including Preparing your business for emergencies and disruption (including Coronavirus)
- The Business Continuity Institute – the lead institute for Business Continuity practice and practitioners in the UK. The institute offers a range of training and guidance documents that can be purchased through the website, as well as a list of institute Members recognised as qualified practitioners by the Institute (not all practitioners are members). You can also download a free copy of the Good Practice Guidelines (Lite Edition) here
- Local Councils – All local Councils have a duty to provide local businesses with advice and guidance on business continuity to help prepare them for disruption, although this varies greatly from one council to another – you can find your local council here. Searching for Business Continuity or Emergency Planning on your council webpage should find you more information. Councils should also have a Community Risk Register that identifies the risks to the local area and community
- The British Standards Institute, ISO 22301 – The International Standard for Business Continuity Planning. The website provides links to recent research, basic guidance on the Standard, self-assessment checklists for free. The full standard and guidance are available for purchase, as well as training courses, professional support, professional audits and official certification
- BCI Horizon Scan Report 2020 – provides a review of the risks that could affect the UK and businesses. Primarily written for resilience professionals, it provides a great deal of information that can help you to identify the sorts of risks your business or organisation may face, from physical disasters through to lack of qualified staff and ICT disruption.