UK employers unprepared for terrorist disruption

Organisations
of all sizes are failing to plan for possible disruption to their business
operations caused by the war against Iraq and terrorism, finds research.

A
survey of more than 700 managers by the Chartered Management Institute finds
that 50 per cent believe UK employers are not prepared for possible terrorist
attacks.

The
results reveal that over the past few months, organisations are more likely to
have addressed the possibility of disruption to their business by the
firefighters’ strike (44 per cent) than the war in Iraq (17 per cent).

Alarmingly,
they also ranked ‘increased threat of terrorist activity’ (32 per cent) as an
equal consideration to ‘damage to their ‘brand.’

When
asked whether their organisation actually had a business continuity plan in
place, more than half the managers polled admitted that either they did not or
were unsure.  Of the 46 per cent that
did, only around half again had actually rehearsed its effectiveness during the
past year.

There
appears to be a strong correlation between the size of the organisation and
their preparedness for war or terrorist attacks: large organisations (over
£500m turnover) are almost three times more likely to have a business
continuity plan (68 per cent) than small businesses (up to £1m turnover) with
only 24 per cent having one in place.

"Organisations
of all sizes should have a business continuity plan – not having one is
cavalier at best, negligent at worst." said John Sharp, CEO of the
Business Continuity Institute. "Frighteningly, only one in two managers
even know if their organisation has a plan.

"The
good news is that recent developments in corporate governance, in particular
the Turnbull Report, mean that risk management is now on the boardroom agenda.

“Equally,
the recently published Higgs Report places greater responsibility on
non-executive directors to ensure that their organisations are being managed
prudently."

By Ben Willmott

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