Business Continuity Management (BCM) has become a critical business discipline, helping organizations prepare for, and recover from, a wide range of unexpected incidents and unwelcome interruptions. As part of its commitment to ensure there is a robust BCM system in place, the Houses of Parliament has implemented and gained certification to ISO 22301, the international BCM system standard from BSI, the business standards company.
The Houses of Parliament recognized that effective business continuity management was vital to achieving their strategic goals and operational resilience. By implementing ISO 22301 as a best practice framework they were able to better identify and manage current and future threats and take a proactive approach to minimizing the impact of incidents. If an unforeseen incident occurred, the two Houses of parliament needed to be resilient enough as an organization to respond to the incident in order to protect staff, it’s environment and the services it provides; minimize disruption to Parliamentary business and recover from the incident and return to normality as quickly as possible.
Being a UN World Heritage site and icon of national identity was just one of the unique challenges for the design of its business continuity management system. Other factors the organization had to consider included the importance of the political dynamic; the traditions and rules of procedure that provide the basis for ‘business as usual’ activities and the dual nature of Parliament and its decision making processes.
Martin Fenlon, the Business Resilience Coordinator for the Houses of Parliament commented:
“We have a responsibility to ensure Parliament can sit and be seen to be sitting as and when required. In order to deliver this we needed to develop a Business Continuity Management capability. As a confident, competent organisation we wanted to follow industry best practice, which is why we pursued certification to ISO 22301.”
“During the assessment process we worked with BSI to identify opportunities for improvement as well as affirming areas of good practice. The building blocks are now in place for an effective BCM system; however the next step is to embed our business resilience arrangements in a changing business environment.”
Lorna Anderson, Global Technical Manager at BSI commented: “An effective Business Continuity Management system can go much further than a plan for delivering ‘business as usual’. It is about building a secure foundation to enable a business to adapt quickly and change in line with the market - protecting current operations but also building a platform for future growth. Our clients tell us that by putting effective BCM processes and structured, exercised continuity plans in place, they have increased capability and agility to respond to challenges and are not only more likely to survive but in many cases thrive
“By gaining certification, the Houses of Parliament has demonstrated to the public and key stakeholders they take their responsibilities seriously and follow industry best practice. This is testament to the hard work that has gone into ensuring their critical services remain resilient.”
Notes to editors
The scope for the certification applies to the Houses of Parliament Administrations only