How is the new UK government likely to approach business continuity promotion?

Get free weekly news by e-mailOn the first day of the new Conservative / Liberal Democratic coalition, the subject of business continuity is unlikely to be high on the agenda, but what indications are there for how the new government will approach business continuity and its promotion?

Both of the two coalition parties responded to questioning by the Business Continuity Institute prior to the General Election and these responses provide clear clues to the probable way forward, with both agreeing that they will work within the present arrangements, rather than making any radical changes.

The Conservatives told the BCI that: "At a local level ... the Civil Contingencies Act places a duty on local authorities (as Category 1 responders) to provide advice and assistance to the commercial sector and voluntary organisations about arrangements to be made for the continuance of their activities should an emergency occur. This approach is in line with the Conservative Party's aim to decentralise decision-making as much as possible and is one which we support."

The Liberal Democrats stated: “Liberal Democrats do not have specific policy on the funding for the promotion of business continuity management to local businesses but would agree with the general contention that existing links and networks are often more effective. We also support the promotion of business continuity management on a localised basis in line with our belief that local people know best about how things should be done in their area.”

The BCI asked both parties whether it would expand the remit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) to include business continuity promotion. The Liberal Democrats were open to this idea, saying: “We ... agree that DBIS should have an active role in the promotion of business continuity. DBIS has established communication channels with business and is recognised by the majority of businesses in a way that the Cabinet Office is not. It is also clear that more action is needed to promote business continuity given that the most recent CMI survey for the Cabinet Office demonstrated that less than half of all organisations have business continuity plans in place.”

The Conservative’s response was less clear on this question but certainly was not against the idea of DBIS having a greater role in promoting business continuity management. The Conservative’s stated: “Part of the rationale for the Party's intended National Security Council is to get Departments which might not have thought they had a role in contributing to the UK's security and resilience, or which to date have taken a less than active part, to be fully involved and accountable."

Finally, both parties saw the need for government suppliers and contractors to make clear commitments to business continuity management.

The Tories say that they may specifically include BS 25999 compliance as an aspect of the tendering process, saying that they “believe that government should include BS 25999 as a requirement to be met by companies bidding for its procurement projects.”

The Liberal Democrats do not specifically mention BS 25999 but agree with the principle, saying: “Liberal Democrats ... support the use of government procurement that seeks to achieve wider policy objectives. For example, we have a commitment to use government procurement policy to expand the market for sustainable and fair-traded products. We would also support the inclusion of an appropriate degree of business continuity protection within public procurement contracts. This would both ensure the resilience of public supplies and also encourage wider take-up of business continuity measures in line with the public sectors’ statutory role to promote business continuity.”

Read the full statements here.

•Date: 12th May 2010 • Region: UK •Type: Article •Topic: BC general
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