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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 27/03/2007
Emergency Planning: (Business) Continuity Planning in Waverley - Progress Report



APPENDIX J
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 27TH MARCH 2007

Title:
EMERGENCY PLANNING: (BUSINESS) CONTINUITY PLANNING IN WAVERLEY – PROGRESS REPORT
[Wards Affected: N/A]

Note pursuant to Section 100B (5) of the Local Government Act 1972

An annexe to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraph 7 of the revised Part I of the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

Summary and purpose:

This report advises the Executive of the progress that has been made in developing a (Business) Continuity Plan for Waverley Borough Council.

Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications arising from this report but the Continuity Plan does include how Waverley will deliver its environmental services in the event of a major civil emergency that has the affect of disrupting normal services.

Social / community implications:

There are no special social/community implications arising from this report although the Continuity Plan addresses how a return to normality will be achieved as effectively and quickly as possible in the event of a major civil emergency.

E-Government implications:

There are no specific e-Government implications although technology is a key element of the Continuity Plan.

Resource and legal implications:

The Council made financial resources available to develop the Continuity Plan for Waverley and the expenditure has been contained within existing resources.

The work that has been carried out has been driven by the (officer) Continuity Planning Group. The Safety and Emergency Planning Officer is, out of necessity, a key member of that group but, otherwise, officers have participated in the activity of the Group in addition to their normal functions. All officers involved are to be congratulated on the professional way that they have carried out the work.
The actions described in this report meet aspects of the statutory requirements placed upon local authorities (and other public sector bodies) as Category 1 responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

Introduction

Civil Contingencies Act and Business Continuity provisions for compliance

1. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 created the status of Category 1 responders, to include the “blue light” services, local authorities, Environment and Highways Agencies and placed a number of statutory duties on them. In two-tier local authority structures, both counties and districts have identical duties. There were concerns in 2006 over Surrey County Council’s Contingency Planning unit, but recruitment of the new team is largely complete and appears to be working well, as well as being committed to closer co-operation with Districts. Surrey’s new Head of Contingency Planning has drawn up interesting new proposals on increased partnership working which are under discussion. These include community risk assessment, plans and preparedness (including training and exercises) based on the risks, liaison and co-operation with other Category 1 responders, duty to warn and inform the public, Business Continuity and its promotion, with advice to businesses and voluntary organisations.

2. Business continuity duties fall into two categories – the continuance of Council services in extremis and the ability to continue, in such circumstances, to respond to a civil emergency and support Category 1 partners.

3. Based on the business continuity duties and the business impact analysis carried out on the Council’s infrastructure and services, a management group of officers was formed to steer the Council’s progress. The Executive, at its meeting on 11th October 2005, approved the officer proposals and a package of budgetary measures to implement aspects of the emerging Business Continuity Plan for Waverley in 2006/7.

The Business Continuity Plan and Publication

4. As the majority of the Council’s functions are controlled from the Council Offices, the plan focuses on this complex and the potential need to provide an alternate location in a major emergency. Other buildings will be reviewed later in the process. The plan has been written to concentrate on three levels of possible interruption to Waverley and its ability to continue service delivery. These are: -
Level 1 - Single service affected

5. The Plan is based on essential information held and reviewed regularly incorporating:

Core procedures for corporate management responsibility and action in the event of an emergency;
Responsibilities and procedures for central support teams in such circumstances;
Summaries of the impact relating to each of the Council’s services in the event of major disruption for the first three days, and for a period from day four for a number of weeks, prior to full service recovery; and
Local Recovery Plans for each of these Services in the event of disruption.

6. These aspects, when taken together, allow for prompt assessment of the impact of an emergency and enable effective steps to be taken to restore overall service as soon as is practicable. The first draft plan was internally circulated to key officers in late 2005.

7. Arrangements for Level 2 and 3 incidents have been scoped and largely delivered. Work on Level 1 – to include Pandemic influenza planning - is ongoing. Once complete over the next few months, the entire plan will be published around July 2007. A copy of the Plan, which includes confidential personal information, will be given to each of the Members of the Emergency Advisory Group.

Alternate venue and current state of play

8. Details of the alternative arrangements in the event of a major emergency are set out in the (Exempt) Annexe to this report.

Resilience issues and status at the Council Offices

9. At an early stage of the development of the continuity planning process, officers identified resilience issues with I.T. equipment and the Council’s main switchboard. Contracts have now been completed to ensure that poor resilience in these areas is resolved. Work with individual service managers continues, particularly around knowledge capture and staffing issues to complete identification of and planning for issues affecting critical services.

Contractor Resilience

10. The statutory duty to ensure business continuity of services extends to services that have been outsourced to a contractor. Accordingly, work is ongoing with the Council’s main and smaller contractors to vet their disaster recovery arrangements, and to see evidence that their plans are published, regularly tested and exercised.

Commitment to BS 25999 and Progress

11. During the past year, the British Standards Institute has published Part 1 of its new standard for Business Continuity – BS25999. This provides the guidance for organisations that wish to work towards measurement as compliant with the standard. The compliance regime is due to be published as part 2 in July 2007. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat, which, as part of the Cabinet Office, oversee arrangements for the Civil Contingencies Act, have indicated that compliance with BS25999 will be considered as compliance with the Act. Your officers have therefore committed to work towards Waverley’s compliance with BS25999 and to require contractors to similarly be compliant to the Standard.

12. The next stage of work needs the production and adoption of a Strategic Policy for Business Continuity. Your officers have commenced work of this and it will be brought to Members for approval in due course. New contracts will be drafted to ensure appropriate Business Continuity compliance, and work is in hand to vary contracts that exist.

Pandemic Influenza and Planning

13. At a corporate level, much work has been done with partners to contribute to Surrey pandemic influenza planning. Waverley’s own arrangements are linked to the level 1 service recovery plans mentioned above, and risk assessment of the offices and activities has been completed with hygiene arrangements for a possible pandemic held in stock for distribution when needed. The Emergency Advisory Group and Towns and Parishes have been kept abreast of developments.

Business Continuity Promotion

14. Surrey County Council has created a Surrey Continuity Forum for businesses and voluntary organisations, with the aim of sharing, discussing and learning about best practice in the field of Business Continuity Management.

15. Membership of the forum is open to all Businesses and Voluntary organisations in Surrey and will include representatives from the Emergency Services and Local Authorities who will make presentations on key topics. The forum will produce information leaflets, website material and seminars for those unable to attend the main forum meetings.

16. These products will be disseminated through the Surrey Chambers of Commerce and the Borough and District Councils in Surrey to the smaller local businesses unable to attend the main forum meetings. Full details were sent to all businesses in Waverley via a Surrey Business Continuity Advice leaflet with the 2006 Business Rate details. Waverley has published substantial business continuity advice on its own website. Surrey County Council will lead on promotion and this aspect of partnersip is within their new proposals.

The Future

17. Plans need to be exercised and tested to ensure they are fit for purpose. The first test of arrangements at the Pump House took place successfully in February 2007 and further work is scheduled for April 2007 and then later in the autumn 2007. Ongoing work on local service recovery plans will continue during 2007, with services focussing on their own requirements, as well as testing and exercising as appropriate.

18. The main Plan needs to be published during the year and work initiated to look at other buildings. The overall plan is due for review and republishing in the light of exercise feedback in early 2008.

19. Arrangements will need to be expanded, with other Surrey Districts, Surrey County Council and other Category 1 partners to continue the roll-out of business continuity promotion and advice to businesses.

Conclusion

20. Although work remains outstanding, your officers are confident that, today, if a major emergency occurred such that the Council Offices were not accessible, the preparations to date would mean that the Council could manage the recovery process and could continue to function from the Pump House as provided for in the (draft) Business Continuity Plan.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive note the good progress that has been made in developing a (Business) Continuity Plan for Waverley Borough Council.


Background Papers (MD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 523387
E-mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk

Keith Allen Telephone: 01483 523240
E-mail: kallen@waverley.gov.uk







Comms/exec/2006-07/329