Business Continuity in Hounslow

Sponsor: The London Borough of Hounslow Contingency Planning Unit image
Sponsor Liaison: Twm Palmer
Student Team: Ben Drury, Jarrett Sarnell, Emma MacIntyre, E. Thatcher Van Atten
Abstract: In 2004, British Parliament passed the Civil Contingencies Act which outlined local and national guidelines for Emergency Planning. Local Authorities create Emergency Plans, but find promotion difficult due to a lack of staff, funding, and time. The goal of this project was to improve current Business Continuity Management promotion, engagement, and awareness in the London Borough of Hounslow as well as the greater Hounslow community. Through data analysis from a series of interviews, surveys, and focus groups, we developed a document called Business Continuity Promotional Guidelines. This contains a 12 Month Promotional Plan and recommendations for implementing various promotional methods for the Contingency Planning Unit of the London Borough of Hounslow.

Final Report

Business Continuity Promotional Guidelines

Final Presentation

Promotional Preference Survey Data

Staff Awareness Survey Data

Executive Summary


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines Business Continuity (BC) as the ability of a business to continue to provide its products and services at a reasonable level after a disruption (International Organization for Standardization, 2012). Business Continuity Management (BCM) covers the process of planning for risks, educating staff, and managing the unexpected.

In 2004, British Parliament passed the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) which requires government agencies throughout the United Kingdom to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency or incident which may arise. However, despite current efforts to promote the BC, businesses tend to not realize the importance of BC and often do not invest the necessary time in the creation of a functional BCM plan. In organizations with BCM plans, a knowledge gap often exists between management levels and general employees. This is due to the fact that BC promotion and training is often overlooked and not enforced.

In the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH), the Contingency Planning Unit (CPU) is responsible for upholding CCA obligations through creating BCM plans, making BCM information available, and providing advice and assistance regarding BCM to the public. However, due to recent Local Government austerity measures, a lack of resources and time has created obstacles for the CPU in promoting BC effectively. Therefore, the goal of this project was to improve current BCM promotion, engagement, and awareness in the London Borough of Hounslow as well as the greater Hounslow community.

Project Objectives:

In order to accomplish the project goal, the team created three objectives:

  1. To review current BCM promotional strategies and programs throughout London
  2. To determine BCM awareness in the LBH and perceptions on common promotional activities
  3. To develop an awareness program that can be used by the CPU annually to promote BCM

We first reviewed the BC program in Hounslow and held interviews with Emergency Planning Officials in 10 boroughs, including the City of London to determine approaches to BCM used in other boroughs. Concurrent to this research, we began Objective 2 by releasing two online surveys—one to gauge staff awareness of BC and the other to determine opinions on training activities. Additionally, we held various focus groups with Hounslow Leadership Group (HLG) employees and Emergency Response Volunteers to gather more in depth feedback on BC awareness and promotional programs. Lastly, the team synthesized and analyzed this research to develop a promotional method implementation document, Business Continuity Promotional Guidelines, which includes recommendations for a 12 Month Promotional Plan for the CPU to implement.


We found that in order to promote BC internally in the LBH, as well as to the private business sector, more than one delivery method must be implemented to reach various audiences and maximize impact. The findings from each objective are summarized below.

Objective 1

There is no standardized or uniform strategy used by all boroughs of London for the creation, review, and implementation of BCM programs. The current BC promotion in Hounslow consists of a webpage that needs to be made more user-friendly, situational exercises targeted towards Heads of Service that are often ignored, and promotion attempts that are falling out of practice. Throughout London, the various barriers impeding the promotion of BC include: a lack of resources, understanding, initiative, and time. Each borough has a unique BCM promotional plan with varying levels of success. Informational presentations, training exercises, and use of a webpage are the most common BC promotional methods. Many also use social media networks to spread BC and Emergency Response information throughout the organization. vi

Objective 2

In the LBH, employees who have a lower position as well as less experience tend to have less knowledge of how the LBH handles BC. Heads of Service feel BC knowledge should originate from management but all employees should have an understanding of the essential aspects of their service’s plans. Additionally, employees working in Emergency Planning positions throughout London prefer longer, less frequent, and more formal training sessions.

Objective 3

The CPU needs to increase their online presence to spread BC awareness. A webpage and use of social media are effective promotional platforms to do this, but must be engaging. The CPU can further improve BC promotion by increasing visibility throughout the Civic Centre. Posters, flyers, and a BC component in an induction package for new employees are useful promotional vehicles to improve BC promotion.


After reviewing our data and findings, we compiled a list of suggested promotional methods (Appendix L). These methods aim to satisfy the goal of increasing promotion, engagement, and awareness of BC both internally in the LBH and in external private sector businesses. We categorized these promotional methods into the five succinct recommendations. Each of the five recommendations are comprised of various delivery methods the CPU can implement to improve BC promotion as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Recommendation Delivery Method
Increase internet presence Social Media, Yammer, Webpage
Implement BC induction programs Induction Package, New Business Welcome Package
Increase visual presence Posters, Summary Sheet, Awareness Cards
Implement annual informative events BCAW Missions, Tabletop Exercises, Open Office Hours
Augment general understanding of BC Newsletter, Color-Coded Plan Documentation

The project team compiled these recommendations in a comprehensive document called Business Continuity Promotional Guidelines for the CPU to aid in developing their promotional program. This document includes: a 12 Month Promotional Plan (see Figure 29), a cost benefit analysis table, and in-depth examples and implementation steps for each of the suggested delivery methods (see attached Business Continuity Promotional Guidelines document). The team designed it for ease of use and as a reference for continually increasing awareness and importance of BC throughout the year.