A petition to 10 Downing Street pushes for a designated department for business continuity management

An industry group has written to the UK government requesting a designated department for business continuity management.

The Business Continuity Expo 2008 with backing from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) set up a petition on the 10 Downing Street website to urge the Prime Minister to create “a designated lead department within central government to coordinate, initiate and oversee business continuity management within all other government departments.”

The petition is pushing for a department which would have specific responsibility for business continuity management.

Currently within Government, the responsibility for business continuity fall under a wide range of ministries, including but not limited to BERR, Cabinet Office, Communities and Local Government, Culture, Media and Sport, Defence, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Health, Work and Pensions, Justice and Transport.

Business Continuity Expo said in a release: ‘There are so many departments that touch on aspects of business continuity demonstrating the breadth and importance of BC but no one body overseeing it all.’

Richard Fitzhugh, content manager at Business Continuity Expo said: “Where there is dilution of activities amongst all the various Ministries and government bodies – there is also dilution of action and responsibility. Without a keystone to provide oversight across all ministries with activities and responsibilities in this area it is impossible to have a coherent strategy for the assurance of business activities, leading ultimately to a genuine threat to the organisations that provide the nation’s critical services: employment, finance, utilities transport, food and security. It is not simply a question of cogent thinking and sensible directorial infrastructure, it underpins the very fabric of society.”

Added Fitzhugh: “Businesses are frankly confused. One of the top experts in the industry recently compiled an easy-to-use guide on who to call in an incident, intended as a wallpaper reference for BC practitioners. It ended up running to over 200pages – and this cant be right. Whilst the CCS have made incredible strides in pushing forward an agenda of resilience, there still needs to be a simplification – or at least a clarification – or where the buck stops for BC at a gold level. All my consultations with the industry unequivocally support this.”

David Honour, from Continuity Central said: “It is best practice within companies and organisations to take a holistic approach to business continuity and to avoid a ‘silo’ approach where different departments are left to their own devices. To achieve this a central business continuity leadership resource is established, with the responsibility for promoting, coordinating and managing the business continuity management system. This is not only cost effective and efficient; it also ensures that no area is missed from the business continuity plan. It is essential that central government follows business continuity best practice and in order to do this it needs to take the step of designating a lead department to take a central coordination and management role for business continuity activities.”

Lyndon Bird from the BCI added: “Whilst there is no doubt that the British Government is strongly supportive of the general aims of Business Continuity, there is a perception of duplication of effort and no overall direction across the various departments. By appointing a lead department to co-ordinate policy and implement consistent strategies, we believe that both the UK’s domestic business resilience and its international trading performance will be enhanced. The UK will be seen as a safe, secure and consistent place to build and base business operations.”