Business continuity slips off radar as half UK firms ignore threat of unforeseen disruption

Less than half of UK organisations are preparing for business disruption, despite fears of upheaval caused by extreme weather conditions and staff loss, research has revealed.

The study of 1,257 public and private sector managers, by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), uncovered a high level of complacency among UK employers.

The majority (73%) believe business continuity is viewed as important by their senior management team, but the number whose organisations have a business continuity plan (BCP) covering critical areas is much lower (48%).

Even where BCPs exist, many organisations fail to balance levels of protection with what they perceive are key threats to business. For example, only 35% of BCPs focus on reputation, even though almost half (49%) perceive ‘damage to brand’ as a major threat.

The 2007 Business Continuity Management Survey revealed that more than one-quarter of organisations were affected by extreme weather conditions in the 12 months to January 2007, an increase from less than 1 in 10, the previous year.

One-fifth of managers also said their organisation’s productivity had suffered due to a ‘loss of skills’ over the past year.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI, said: “Protecting an organisation’s infrastructure is, of course, vital to its sustainability.

“However, technology is nothing without the people who can use it, and unless organisations balance the need to safeguard buildings with the need to secure their workforce, any attempt at business continuity management will remain unfinished and inadequate.”

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