A freedom of information (FOI) request conducted by Databarracks has revealed that over half (54%) of councils do not have a designated Business Continuity Manager. However, 91 per cent review their Business Continuity Plans at least annually and every council has reviewed its Business Continuity Plans since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Peter Groucutt, Databarracks Managing Director said, “for over half of councils do not have a Business Continuity Manager might seem odd, given how large and critical councils are.
“Actually, councils have several functions that other organisations don’t. They have Civil Protection, Emergency Planning or Emergency Management. These are focused externally, on the requirements of citizens rather than the council themselves. In these cases, Business Continuity and Resilience for their own internal services may sit within those departments as part of their wider remit. Individual service owners will be responsible for the continuity of their area, with assistance from those functions.
“Councils are, in general, a great example of how to manage Business Continuity and Organisational resilience.
“Business Continuity must be embedded in an organisation, taken seriously and regularly exercised. To do that, it must be given attention from the highest levels of management, with input from all your key service areas. It’s not something that you can do once every three years and then forget until the next review. Your ability to respond needs to be practised and updated as your organisation and processes change, or it will quickly become out of date.
“The FOI request shows that councils are doing exactly that.
“We’ve spoken to many resilience professionals from local government. It’s a very challenging role due to the wide range of services councils provide and a relative lack of resource compared with the private sector. In spite of that, they all agree that it’s very rewarding and the best experience any BC professional can have.”
In addition to Business Continuity and Emergency Planning, here are some of the other roles responsible for BC:
- Assistant Director, Environment and Place
- Financial Accounting Manager
- Corporate Manager, Executive Support
- Head of Regulatory Services Housing & Wellbeing
- Senior Policy and Transformation Manager
- Head of Neighbourhood Operations
- Head of Strategy, Information and Governance
Peter added, “BC is not one-size-fits all. The concepts, methods and principles are universal, but just as every organisation is different, so too is how BC is applied. Although you can apply BC and resilience in different ways, it is surprising that there is not more consistency in how it is applied across the 69 councils.”