Business continuity

Business owners should prepare a business continuity management (BCM) plan to increase their chances of coping in a crisis.

In this section:
Responding to an incident

Responding to an incident

For a business to continue effectively beyond an incident (and potentially throughout), it is best to respond quickly and appropriately.

By ensuring that all members of staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities during an incident, a business can continue to operate. 

A business continuity plan should be include the following key sections:

Initial response

This phase covers the organisation's initial response to a business interruption. The processes and procedures should include:

  • how the plan will be invoked
  • who will activate the procedures and under which circumstances

Contact details

The plan should include essential contact details of all stakeholders, especially of staff who are involved in the activation of this plan.

Incident management

Tasks that will be required to manage the initial phases should be documented, including the details of the individuals responsible for each task. This may include:

  • site evacuation procedures
  • mobilisation of first aid, safety or evacuation teams locating and accounting for those who were on the site
  • ongoing employee/customer communications and safety briefings
  • detailed plans for communicating with all relevant staff, as well as for wider stakeholders and media if required
  • consideration for anyone with disabilities or other specific needs
  • a room/location/space that can be the focal point for where the organisation's response should be managed

Business continuity and recovery

Plans should outline the critical activities to be recovered (including timescales and recovery levels required), the resources available throughout the response (including processes for mobilising the resources) and detail the actions and tasks needed to ensure the continuity and recovery of your critical activities. 


In the event of a business requiring evacuation, staff may be required to leave the premises.

  • Larger businesses may be able to afford off site alternative locations - either within their own business' facilities or through a dedicated company's facilities for this sort of situation. For a smaller business, alternative premises may be more difficult (consider all possibilities including borrowing office space or working from home options).
  • Shops may need to look for alternative options for trading in the event of an incident affecting their premises. 
  • There are many benefits to enabling your workforce to operate from home which include reducing transport issues during an incident, more available workspaces and less requirements for additional alternative locations.


In the event of the business premises being flooded, there is likely to be some damage internally and externally to the buildings. Businesses should ensure they have processes in place for getting insurance and other associated organisations to review the damage, so that any repairs can be made in an appropriate time period to get the organisation operating as quickly as possible.

Page last updated: 30 Oct 2020