Branch Meeting report - 21st January 2016 Emergency Planning and Business Continuity

5 February 2016

Encouraging start to the year with a very strong turnout this month. The subject of the presentation was: “Emergency Planning and Business Continuity” given by Neil Favager from Wakefield Council. This subject was chosen several months ago but proved very topical with all the recent rainfall in the Yorkshire region.

Neil referenced several instances of flooding and spoke about how effective and professional the emergency services were.

He looked at how to respond to disruptions and asked attendees to think about:

  • Who really knows what to do?
  • What is it that is really needed?
  • Is there correct training in place and who should be trained?

The presentation looked at how Wakefield Council had reassessed its business continuity requirements by focusing on what the critical functions of the business were and what was required to operate these.

Sir John Harvey Jones

“Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. And the nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.”

Sir John Harvey Jones.


Neil explained the concepts of emergency planning highlighting several key elements to consider when preparing a plan. Neil discussed that you can’t buy an off-the-shelf plan, it must be relevant to the organisation and its working environment. The importance is having a plan which works for you in the event of an emergency.

Michael Fish
“Earlier today, apparently a woman called the BBC and said a Hurricane was on the way. Well if you’re watching, don’t worry there isn’t”.

Michael Fish – BBC News  October 1987.

One element of discussion was failure to practice what you plan. Often an organisation would have a fantastic plan, but the key personnel in the plan were not aware of their roles. More importantly, the plan was never practised or tested.

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