Marsh has published practical advice for businesses to assist them with their business continuity plans in light of the risk of an avian flu pandemic


- Review existing risk management and BCM plans and amend them based on an interpretation of the new threat. For example, will a plan work in the event of having fewer people, losing certain critical people, or operating with a potentially reduced transportation network?
- Check with relevant Government departments and industry regulators on whether there is any guidance that the plans would benefit from
- Review the risk register to determine whether avian flu poses a threat as a 'hazard risk' to the organisation
- Agree which circumstances in relation to avian flu would be significant enough to trigger the invocation of a BCM plan, ie what are the key risk indicators?
- Re-examine the supply chain and assess what additional risks avian flu presents to the continuation of services from suppliers
- Check whether the standards of building ventilation are adequate to prevent avian flu spreading to employees within the building
- Consider running a BCM rehearsal using an outbreak as a scenario to test the effectiveness of plans
- Ensure that senior managers have the skills to capably manage a large crisis.


Structure BCM plans into three distinctly time-sliced sections.

Emergency response
- Is there a response team?
- Do the members of the response team know what to do and what is expected of them?
- Do they know which national agencies and emergency services need to be informed?
- Do they understand what they would do in a crisis of this kind?
- Are plans brief and unambiguous?
- Are there escalation procedures for additional resource requirement?
Crisis management
- Is there a crisis management team which includes on-call staff? Does the team know what is expected of them?
- Are executives ready and capable of delivering the right messages in such a crisis?
- Have pre-written holding statements and press releases been prepared that can be adapted?
- Are mechanisms in place for managing communications?
- Are there nominated spokespeople for dealing with the media?
Business recovery
- Is there a business recovery team?
- Has the team identified the recovery time objectives for each critical business process that may be interrupted?
- Have continuity strategies been developed for each process?
- Have supply chain dependencies been identified, and alternative channels identified and secured?
- Have call cascades been set up for suppliers, clients and employees?
- Are there alternative premises and facilities that can be used should access to the building be denied? Are transport links likely to be sufficient to get people to the alternative site during a crisis?
- Are critical staff set up to work from an alternative location? eg can they work from home?