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The compliance of our Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) was rated as ‘substantial’ by NHS England during a recent assessment.

This endorsement reflects the effectiveness with which we deliver business continuity services across our 15 sites and numerous CCG partners.

Our maxim is to be ‘wise before the event’. We plan and test our procedures for handling disruptions so our services, and the patients we ultimately serve, are unaffected.

Our approach to both maintaining continuity, including during mobilisation of new contracts, and recovery, has proved exemplary in minimising the number of instances where the Business Continuity Plan has had to be implemented. In the rare cases where it has, the plan has proved highly effective at minimising disruption to services and patient care.

Our approach is robust and fully embedded, and updated through review and testing. We have a comprehensive business continuity management system, made up of our:

  • Business Continuity Policy – sets out general principles, aims, objectives and corporate governance arrangements for creating and revising business continuity plans
  • Business Impact Analysis – generates data for constructing continuity plans and helps to priorities activities and services within each business area
  • Business Continuity Strategy – lists pre-planned interventions to undertake in the event of a disruptive incident, and enables staff to continue using their data if systems are affected
  • Business Continuity Plan – an ISO22301 aligned plan for each major site, setting out how to respond to a disruptive incident and return to ‘business as usual’ as quickly as possible
  • Crisis Management Plan – a one-page summary for each location, detailing all information and activities to be undertaken in the event of a disruption.

All elements of the system are subject to regular review and testing to ensure that they are for purpose. Our Business Continuity Policy is formally reviewed every three years. Our Business Impact Analysis, Business Continuity Strategy and Business Continuity Plans are reviewed annually.

Maintaining an effective BCM system relies on staff competence. Annual desktop exercises provide real-time scenario training for our staff. We train them to refer to appropriate documents, giving robust guidance in a ‘safe’ environment.

This training has been taken up by the CCGs, who also take Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response training, in which we are subject-matter experts). A report completed after each exercise identifies learning points and an action plan, which is then shared.