Counting the cost with business continuity

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Business continuity awareness week is an international event organised by the Business Continuity Institute. This year’s theme is ‘counting the cost’ – looking at the potential consequences of not having an effective business continuity system in place.

As the Business Continuity Lead for the Trust, it’s essentially my job to make sure that our service is resilient, prepared and has contingency measures in place that will help us in almost every thinkable eventuality.

Some of you may have seen the articles on East24 this week already. If not, I’d encourage you to go and have a look. They cover how business continuity works in our service; looking at what we’d do if our IT systems failed for example, or if one of our buildings was lost in a fire. Or how we’d cope if something happened to a station’s water supply, or if a large number of staff were taken ill unexpectedly. It’s important to think about and plan for all scenarios, to make sure that if something happened we could carry on delivering a high-quality, uninterrupted service for patients in the east of England.

Following perhaps the most protracted major incident in the country’s recent history was when scores of homes and businesses were flooded earlier this year, it would be very tempting to publish photographs and point out that those with contingency arrangements are 80% more likely to thrive after such an event than those that do not.

However, this would miss the point.  If there is one message that I would like you to take away from this business continuity awareness week it is this.  Business continuity is not only about how to deal with the crisis, it’s also about understanding day-to-day business and being aware of what can be done to support delivery of an effective and efficient service to our patients.

For example, do you understand what the Trust’s priorities are, and what part you play in their delivery? Do you know what plans and processes your department has to protect your services and what your part in them is?

Business continuity is a team game and as such it is far more effective if all members of the team contribute. It’s not difficult, but it needs thinking about.  It is far easier to have thought about the risks of service disruption, have processes in place to mitigate them, and how we will recover from those disruptions in advance, rather than to try and work them out after it has happened.

Business continuity is also about thinking about how we can make our service more effective and efficient – doing more for less.  This is where counting the cost really comes into its own.  Organisations that are not cost effective and relevant have no long term future, take established brands such as Woolworths or Blockbuster for example.  This is what is really meant by ‘counting the cost’. Being members of a leading ambulance service is not just aspirational, it’s essential to our future.

Ian Crowson,
Business Continuity Lead

For more information on business continuity awareness week, please visit If you have any queries, you can also contact Ian at or on 01763 268707.

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