Testing Testing

Corporate Continuity – Part 6

Now to make sure it all works, and we have enhanced operational resilience across the organisation.

The final stage in any good continuity plan is VALIDATION. We need to know that the programme will remain effective, because things change in any organisation and continued validation will ensure overall resilience is maintained.

Validation is achieved by Exercising, Maintenance and Review.

First we must develop an exercise process to meet the needs of the organisation. Exercises can come in a number of forms.

  1. Discussion based
  2. Scenario exercises
  3. Simulations
  4. Live situational
  5. Tests

Each type has its own characteristics and will fit a particular need but should always involve as much realism as possible. They should manage the risk of disruption to the business, and maximise costs and benefits.

Thorough planning and support is required. There should be a clear method to STOP the exercise if necessary and thorough debriefing is always required, followed by a detailed report.

These plans must be maintained over time, and reviewed regularly. Self-assessment, quality assurance, performance appraisals and supplier performance should be measured, and this should always be followed by a thorough management review, to #preserveprofitability

Now relax and enjoy the weekend


Corporate Continuity – Part 5

Do what you say you will do!

Once we have completed the first four stages of the continuity process:

  1. Policy & Programme Management
  2. Embedding continuity throughout the organisation
  3. Analysis of Business Impacts
  4. Designed solutions

We move on to the IMPLEMENTATION phase, which is where we actually bring continuity to life within the business, driving real change at all levels, so that continuity becomes “Business as Usual”.

To do this we have to:

  • Identify the responsible individuals
  • Develop a draft response structure for top management consideration
  • Document and publish the approved structure
  • Implement the structure within any current continuity plans
  • Rehearse the structure as part of the continuity plan

Response structures will depend on the size and complexity of the organisation and the number of locations. Response structures need to be developed at several levels within the organisations, these are:

  • Strategic – Top Management / Board Level
  • Tactical – Mid Level management at organisation or division level
  • Operational – Detailed operation plans, departments and locations

Responsibilities need to be agreed along with authorities, matching competencies, then implementing and rehearsing team capabilities. There also need s to be a maintenance schedule to update plans as required.

So, lets get this show on the road!

Have a great day



Corporate Continuity – Part 4

A solution designed for the specific business.

Once we have management buy in to business continuity objectives, have embedded the concept with staff and managers and have identified the key vulnerabilities, we go on to design the solution specific to the business.

The solution will of course depend on the nature of the organisation and the products and or services that it seeks to deliver. The solution designed for a manufacturing company, will differ dramatically from that of a home nation-based charity.

We will look at risk and threat assessments before we decide on the appropriate business continuity solutions. We will consider interdependencies within the business, especially where solutions may rely on suppliers and their supply chains.

We may look at existing arrangements and adjust them according to the “Minimum Business Continuity Objective”. Cost effectiveness will always be a consideration. Top management will of course need to sign off the appropriate solutions.

Solutions should be consolidated by resource type to ensure they are consistent across the organisation and do not conflict with other objectives.

Finally, we will establish the projects required to implement the solutions, so the organisation can #justkeepgoing.

When all is said and done designing the correct solutions is essential if the final plan is to be fir for purpose.

Have a great day



Risk analysis

Corporate Continuity – Part 3

The devil is always in the detail.

And now the real work starts, we get down to the nitty gritty.

We’ve got management buy in and explained to the whole organisation why business continuity is important and now we have to deep dive into the organisation and look at the events which could interrupt it activities and the income stream.

In stage 3 we start off with and Analysis of key vulnerabilities. Some are easy to spot, like major physical damage and are taken care of by insurance, such as fire or flood. In almost all cases things we hadn’t considered, turn out to be the ones that need the most planning.

Here are just a few:

  • Death, incapacity of key personnel
  • Important team leaves to start a business
  • Loss of a major supplier or customer
  • Increased competition
  • Failure of critical machinery
  • Long lead times on key equipment
  • Political environment
  • New and more restrictive regulations
  • Major protests and civil disorder

The list is almost endless, but most important are the ones that will significantly interrupt the income stream of the business.

We grade each on for frequency and severity as well as potential impact in a detailed assessment and then rank them so we can start planning for these events, to make sure you can #justkeepgoing

What might appear obvious, often tends to be the lowest risk, and the things you never thought of are the worst.

Once identified we can start to consider these risks in detail and plan accordingly.

Have a great day


Corporate Continuity – Part 2

Embedding Continuity

How long will that take?

I really need to get this done quickly.

Once I have buy in from the top management in an organisation, I need to “embed” business continuity within it. To do this you almost need to talk to every member of staff, and at the very least all the middle management and operational managers.

They need to know that this is a core discipline within the business. Part of this process is reassuring them, that they will get adequate resource and support from their chain of command.

It is the operational and middle management that will have to implement the plans and activate response structures when things go wrong, whilst top management deal with communications, the press and reputational issues.

There are lots of ways to do this – seminars, training sessions, awareness campaigns, right down to toolbox talks on the shop floor.

So, to answer the first question, how long will it take?

This depends on the nature of the organisation, the number of staff and locations over which they operate, and it can be anything from 6 months, to 3 years.

Business Continuity is ongoing process which will lead to enhanced operational resilience at all levels and embedding that is absolutely critical.

Have a great day and watch out for part 3

Empire Pool

Cardiff then and now!

We all know that Cardiff is probably the greatest Edwardian city in the UK, built on the back of coal from the Welsh valleys and the docks built by the Marquis of Bute. This country and this city powered the industrial revolution throughout the British Empire and the rest of the world.

Even Professor Alice Roberts had to concede this in one episode of her series about great cities of the United Kingdom. We have some superb architecture and much of it remains today, whilst the city continues to evolve into a modern hub for finance, technology, media and the arts.

Nostalgia is everywhere and in this shot I saw a building (on the left) from my childhood, that is no longer there. The Wales Empire Pool – Wikipedia

Built for the Empire and Commonwealth games in 1958, it stood until it was demolished in 1998 to make way for the Millennium / Principality Stadium, but Cardiff didn’t get a new major pool in Cardiff Bay until 2008.

Born just outside Cardiff, the Empire Pool was a regular Saturday morning visit for me and my mates. I can still smell the chlorine and the changing rooms to this day, and remember those odd wrought iron clothes basket / hangars we were given when we went to the changing rooms.

Swimming the full 50 metre length was a chore, but jumping of the platforms up to 60 feet (18 metres) was a right of passage.

We always went to the café on the ground floor of the old bus terminal building, for Bovril and a cake, before walking into town, eventually going home on the train.

Happy days and happy memories


Business Continuity Part1

Policy & Programme Management

Are you up for this?

Occasionally when I meet a client to discuss continuity planning, I am met with a board who have another agenda, but it becomes clear quickly. I either get enthusiastic buy in from the board or just one director has been delegated to deal with it and the remainder can’t get out of the room quick enough.

In these cases, the organisation is often “ticking a box” for a regulator or a customer. They want a continuity plan, because they need to show it to someone else, but they aren’t really interested in its impact within the business and certainly don’t want to waste time, personnel or resources on it.

I will always try to get the organisation to understand why resilience is so important and what my part is in achieving a solid result, so that continuity becomes “business as usual” within that organisation.

If I can’t, then I will respectfully decline the opportunity, as I will end up doing a bad job, purely because the client isn’t fully engaged  and that’s not good for my reputation.

The first step is always policy & programme management, and without enthusiastic buy in from the board, including a desire to achieve enhanced resilience and allocate appropriate resources to the task, the opportunity is lost on day one!

Want to know more just message me here.


BCP – Do you know what it means?

In business we think about growth and development plans all the time. How are we going to get from where we are now, to where we want to be in 5, 10,15 or 20 years time. How do we structure our business to achieve those aims and goals?

We know there are many things that could happen to frustrate those goals, and we pick off the easy ones buying business insurances once a year and then forgetting about them, but what about those things you can’t insure?

Whilst some of them might cross our mind occasionally, businesses founders seldom set time aside to consider the implications and even more rarely plan for events and incidents that could seriously interrupt the activity that generates income.

Here are a few you may not have thought about:

  1. Failure of a key supplier or customer
  2. New competitor buying into the market
  3. Legal and regulatory changes
  4. Import export restrictions
  5. Failure of critical IT systems or production machinery
  6. Long lead times on acquiring critical equipment
  7. Sudden increased material costs and stock shortages
  8. Cyber-attacks and financial crimes
  9. Micro-biological contamination
  10. Internal teams leaving to set up business

All these things can and do happen from time to time. I know, as a business continuity advisor I look at them all the time and make sure businesses can #justkeepgoing when unforeseen events really do occur.

With a little planning and foresight, you can develop plans and response structures that can kick in the minute an incident occurs, so that you can continue your income generating activity with little or no disruption and that can be the difference between success or failure.

Resilience = Consideration + Planning + Implementation + Ongoing Validation

If you’d like to know more, have a look at our website www.severnbay.com or call on 029 20 470375.


What does “continuity” mean to you?

Well, the dictionary definition is: “the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over time.”

In business it means the ability to continue, with your income stream unaffected, through serious problems that would normally disrupt or halt activities.

These problems can fall into a number of different categories, but critically any number of things can not be insured and those are the ones you need effective plans to deal with.

These might include, competition, problems with suppliers or customers, changes in public policy and the law, equipment delays, infrastructure problems and the like.

Even the insurable risks only provide financial compensation after the event, and do not deal with “what you do” when the proverbial hits the fan.

BCP (Business Continuity Planning) is something every business should do, and the daft thing is, in small businesses its even more important and often quite simple.

The main steps are:

  • Policy & Programme Management
  • Embedding BC
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Design

Over the next few days, I will go through the 6 steps above to give you a taste of what it means to undertake meaningful BCP, #becauseaccidentshappen to nice people all the time.

If you like to have a chat about how a modest spend can give you almost complete peace of mind and savings elsewhere can often pay for it, just message me here, it might be the most valuable call you ever make in your business.

Have a great day 😊

SB Logo

Education, Education, Education!

I always say my job is to educate clients to make better informed buying decisions, and if I get that right it means they should continue to place their business with us. That’s not condescending at all. There is no reason they should know the detail of what we do, unless it’s been explained.

That means I have to explain in simple, non-jargon terms:

  • Why we do what we do.
  • How we do it.
  • How we add value for our clients.

In very simple terms, how we support our clients by getting the correct technical solution, at the most competitive price available in the market, declaring our fee up front before a decision is made, so our clients can see that what we earn is reasonable. This often saves them up to 30% on their current insurance spend, and often enhances the cover they have.

This week I’m helping a variety of customers to get the vey best deal possible. They include:

  • A construction training company – Professional Indemnity
  • A mobile site guarding security business – Fleet Insurance & Liabilities
  • 3 Import / export businesses – Marine Cargo, Storage & Liabilities
  • A regional bakery with several shops – Fleet insurance
  • And an importer of plants and seeds – Engineering Inspection services

These are just a few of the clients we help and the solutions we provide and we’d love to see if we can help you?

If you’d like to know how we can save you up to 30%, using our fee only (nil commission) model I’d love to have that conversation.

Don’t leave it too late, the more time we have the more certain we are that we can get the result you want.

You can book a call at www.valuefirstbusinessinsurance.com or call 029 20 470 375 for a chat.

Have a great day 😊