Business continuity and crisis management

Create a business continuity plan

You should draw up a business continuity plan setting out in writing how you will cope if a crisis does occur.

What should your business continuity plan include?

Your business continuity plan should detail:

  • the key business functions you need to get operating as quickly as possible and the resources you'll need to do so
  • the roles of individuals in the emergency

Making the most of the first hour after an emergency occurs is essential in minimising the impact. As a result, your plan needs to explain the immediate actions to be taken.

Consider whether you'll need to give staff specific training so they can fulfil their duties in an emergency. Ensure all employees are aware of what they have to do.

Arranging the plan in the form of checklists can be a good way to make sure that key steps are followed.

Include contact details for those you're likely to have to notify in an emergency such as:

  • the emergency services
  • insurers
  • the local council
  • customers
  • suppliers
  • utility companies
  • neighbouring businesses

It's also worth including details of service-providers such as glaziers, locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, and IT specialists. Include maps of your business premises' layout to help emergency services, showing fire escapes, sprinklers and other safety equipment.

Set out how you'll deal with possible media interest in an incident. Appoint a single company spokesperson to handle questions and try to be positive in any statements you issue. Ensure staff, customers and suppliers are informed before they find out in the media. For more information on handling the media, see our guide to PR: the basics.

Finally, make sure hard copies of your business continuity plan are lodged at your home and with your bank and at the homes of other key members of staff.

GOV.UK’s business continuity management toolkit (PDF, 569K) can help you put your plan together.