Business Continuity and

Critical Incident Exercising

What is scenario based exercising of organisational plans?

The vast bulk of organisations have in place plans to cater for critical incidents or issues affecting the continuity of the business. However passage of time, movement of staff and development of threat may impact upon the content of the plans and consequently the prescribed quality of response.

It is identified within Good Practice doctrine that those tasked with managing a Critical Incident or Business Continuity issue should, in the absence of a live scenario experience, be afforded opportunity to rehearse and practice to maintain the necessary skills within a rolling timetable. The opportunity may be used to validate the continued relevance of the structures and plans and to ensure those potentially replacing existing management team members have an introduction either as an observer or a participant.

We will facilitate the exercising of your plans from the options set out below, developing a relevant theme of your choosing, thereby enabling individuals and teams to practice their responsibilities and procedures in relevant scenarios that could arise or have arisen.

Rehearsal Type Complexity Aims and Process
An analytical study of the Critical Incident Plan by relevant staff and key managers.
Basic Review key elements of plan(s).
Challenge assumptions with colleagues.
Undertake improvements to the plan(s).
Relevant staff and key managers rehearse the main elements of the plan.
Intermediate Walk through the plan in your premises and discuss the responses.
Implement a partial and controlled response.
Test contact schedule and response times.
Challenge assumptions and improve the plan.
Full rehearsal
Practice all elements of the plan; include as many staff as possible and where appropriate external partners.

Complex Simulate a major event.
Invoke plans at more than one level.
Include multiple facets of your organisation, critical suppliers and potentially external stakeholders.
Following comprehensive review, implement improvements.

How could this course help you/your organisation?

Critical Incidents or other similar demands, by definition, involve an element of surprise and unpredictability, necessitating rapid and effective decision-making and extensive levels of preparedness and understanding.

Research1 conducted at Oxford University has shown that organisations that respond quickly and efficiently to such events (‘recoverers’) perform much better in the longer term, and in stark contrast to those that are slow or inefficient (‘non-recoverers’). On numerous occasions exercising the plans has highlighted deficiencies which can be promptly rectified without organisational implication.

This input will allow an organisation to exercise its capability, to identify their level of preparedness, the ability to meet the demands of a critical incident, the capability of its management structures and the level of capability of those tasked with the management of the incident. It will enable those involved to refresh their skills, identify further training needs as appropriate, and to become acquainted with the current good practice.

Who should attend?

Anyone centrally involved in the management of Critical Incidents or who may be co-opted to a Critical Incident Management Team, or equivalent, to assist with a specific discipline. Those who have strategic oversight of Critical Incidents or who may, in the immediate future, adopt such responsibilities.

Consideration should be afforded to staff from the following disciplines that may be required to formally support the Critical Incident Management Team structure.

  • Executive Management
  • Operational Management
  • Finance
  • Security
  • Human Resources
  • Communications /Media
  • IT
  • Legal services
  • Administration
What does this Exercise encompass?

In addition to working progressively through a structured and representative scenario, the Exercise will include the following:

  • Review of the structure and membership of the Management Team
  • Reiteration of the individual roles and responsibilities of Team members
  • Good Practice Guidelines
  • A structured debriefing

1 Knight and Pretty, Templeton College Oxford – Effect of Catastrophes on Shareholder Value

The training events can be delivered onsite, within the client’s premises in a room with an AV capability and furniture which can be moved to facilitate group practice scenarios and exercises.

Alternatively we can arrange an offsite location, the costs of which will be recharged on an actuals basis.

Contact Us

Please contact us to discuss the fees for the provision of this valuable input.

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