Business Continuity

Advice to assist a business to continue to operate or recover its operations effectively

For Businesses and Voluntary Organisations in Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute Council has a duty under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to ensure that business and voluntary organisations within their boundary have the opportunity and tools to prepare and plan for recovery from any potential disruption.

This guidance is provided as general information about planning for any disruption which will affect your organisation.

It is not intended to replace detailed guidance and planning specific to your organisation.

You should consider whether you need to obtain this.

To the extent permitted by law, Argyll and Bute Council excludes liability arising from the use of this guidance.

The role of Argyll and Bute Council

We offer high level advice free of charge and we can assist by giving details of useful websites and further reading but we cannot prepare your plans for you.

Only you know your business and its critical processes and key activities.

What is Business Continuity?

Business Continuity if practised effectively can assist a business to continue to operate or recover its operations effectively, following a disruptive event. Business Continuity is just as important for small companies and voluntary organisations as it is for large corporations.

It looks at the whole organisation, identifies critical processes and key activities, then plans, prepares and protects the business so that it can survive or recover as quickly as possible with the minimum of disruption.

You need to make Business Continuity part of the way you run your business, rather than having to “firefight” any disruption.

A Business Continuity plan will help to prepare you to offer ‘business as usual’ in the quickest possible time following any disruption.

Advantages of implementing BC

  • Assists in the survival of a business.
  • Ensures reduced recovery time.
  • Protects assets and reputation.
  • Reduces costs associated with disaster recovery.
  • Optimises operational efficiency.

Why Business Continuity?

Without effective Business Continuity Planning, a disruptive event could result in any of the following:

  • A complete/partial failure of your business.
  • Loss of income.
  • Loss of reputation and or loss of customers.
  • Financial, legal and regulatory penalties.
  • Staffing issues.
  • An impact on insurance premiums.

Examples of Business Continuity Risks

  • Consider how each of your key activities could continue during a power loss. Now think about a loss of power lasting for 24 hours.
  • Which of your key activities would be jeopardised if your building was evacuated for a period of time with all access denied?
  • How many staff would be needed to continue to cover key activities and how you accommodate them?
  • Do you have sufficient back up for your data, both electronic and paper?
  • Do you have an alternative building or premises in which to work effectively?  Is this sufficient?  Can staff work from home?
  • Do you use any special equipment, software or stationery?  How long can you manage without that specific equipment and how long would it take to replenish stocks?
  • Have you considered financial, legal regulatory penalties that could be imposed if you fail to provide a key activity which you are contracted to do?

Your Plan should answer all the above questions and others specific to your organisation.


If you have no existing plans, start by listing your key services in order of importance. Prepare and document alternative arrangements so that priority key services can continue to operate or be brought back into operation quickly in the face of any disruption, eg, prolonged power failure, lack of access to office/buildings, loss of key staff through accident or illness etc.

Step 1- Understand your Business

  • Identify critical processes/key activities and prioritise them
  • Identify staff working within those areas of your business.
  • Identify your suppliers.
  • Identify the potential threats which may disrupt your business.
  • Consider the impact on your business.
  • Decide how much risk you can prevent or reduce and how much the business can take.
  • Plan for the remainder.
  • Train your staff.
  • Test the plan.

Step 2 – Prepare your plan

  • Prepare a simple Business Continuity Plan of actions which will enable you, depending on the circumstances, to continue each of your key activities or recover them as quickly as possible.

Step 3 – Test your plan

  • Discuss your plan with all relevant staff, including the staff involved with key activities. Undertake some training with them on the plan and their role.
  • Simulate an event that would disrupt your normal business practice and test your plan.


  • 80% of Businesses affected by a major incident close within 18 months.
  • An estimated 46% of businesses do not have a Business Continuity Plan.
  • Of those with plans only 30% have actually been tested.  One in five has only been tested once.

For further information contact :-

Iain Jackson, 
Governance and Risk Manager, 
Legal and Regulatory Services, 
Argyll and Bute Council, 
Lochgilphead PA31 8RT 
(01546 604188)

Other useful websites:

The Business Continuity Website

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