Business continuity faces ‘fresh challenges’ amid local lockdowns, says Bureau Veritas

With a rising number of cities facing the prospect of a second more localised coronavirus lockdown, UK companies must overcome ‘fresh challenges’ in managing their business continuity, says leading health and safety expert Bureau Veritas.

It comes as large swathes of Northern England including Preston, Greater Manchester and Bradford were put under new restrictions by the government earlier this month to try to curb the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson announced at the end of July that the reopening of bowling alleys and casinos must be paused, amid a rise in cases since May.

As such, Bureau Veritas is advising firms across the UK to adequately prepare for the possibility of a local lockdown by stringently monitoring and updating their business continuity and disaster planning procedures.

Basilio Vieira, Lead Auditor for Bureau Veritas Certification, said: “While its great news that most British businesses are back up and running following a prolonged period of lockdown, the reality is we are far from out of the woods on this pandemic.

“As seen in recent weeks, business continuity has never been more important as firms still need to be prepared for the ongoing possibility that they might have to close again at a moment’s notice or alter their operations drastically for an indeterminate period of time.

“The ‘new normal’ is that coronavirus remains a risk to employees health and requires many employers to proceed with extreme caution. Essentially, guidelines, restrictions and best practices will continue to evolve daily for the foreseeable future, and as with the threat of a local lockdown, this presents fresh challenges in terms of business continuity and disaster planning. Our advice, first and foremost to businesses, is to have regular communication with the health agency in your local area to glean the risk of a potential local lockdown to enable better planning and safety precautions.”

According to Bureau Veritas, other key areas to consider for business continuity procedures include taking a cautious approach to making long term commitments, as well as anticipating a more nuanced disruption to supply chains.

Basilio adds: “Whether it’s re-stocking perishable items or signing new vendor supply contracts, we’ve seen that taking a more short term and nimble approach is key to business continuity. What’s more, if your firm is operating in an area with low coronavirus cases, it’s important to factor in the impact that international, national, regional and local lockdowns may have on your supply chains and carry out a full impact analysis.

“In light of this, it’s clear that business continuity remains a top priority as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. Indeed, following best practice in this area will not only ensure firms are adequately prepared to deal with worse-case scenarios and protect the future of their business but, ultimately, could help to save lives.”

As part of its commitment to helping businesses navigate the coronavirus pandemic, Bureau Veritas hosted a webinar on business continuity, hosted by Basilio Vieira which you can now download for free. The webinar covered current key concepts of business continuity, business impact analysis and implementing management systems. To access the full recording click here: https://www.bureauveritas.co.uk/webinars.

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