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Houses of Parliament achieves business continuity management certification

by Brian Sims

Business continuity management has become a critical business discipline, helping organisations prepare for (and recover from) a wide range of unexpected incidents and unwelcome interruptions. As part of its commitment to ensure there’s a robust business continuity management system in place, the Houses of Parliament has implemented and gained certification to ISO 22301 (the international business continuity management system standard from BSI).

The Houses of Parliament’s management team recognised that effective business continuity management was vital to achieving strategic goals and operational resilience. By implementing ISO 22301 as a Best Practice framework, it was possible to better identify and manage current and future threats and take a proactive approach to minimising the impact of incidents.

If an unforeseen incident should take place, the two Houses of Parliament needed to be resilient enough as an organisation to respond to the incident in order to protect staff, the environment and the services provided, minimise disruption to Parliamentary business and recover from the incident and return to normality as quickly as possible.

Being a UN World Heritage site and an icon of national identity were but two of the unique challenges presented in terms of designing the business continuity management system. Other factors to be considered 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 co-ordinator 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.”

Fenlon added:” 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 business continuity management system. However, the next step is to embed our business resilience arrangements in a changing business environment.”

Lorna Anderson, global technical manager at BSI, explained:” An effective business continuity management system can go much further than merely being a plan for delivering ‘business as usual’. It’s 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 business continuity management processes and structured, exercised continuity plans in place, they’ve increased their capability and agility to respond to challenges and are not only more likely to survive but, in many cases, thrive.”

In conclusion, Anderson said:” By gaining certification, the Houses of Parliament has demonstrated to the public and key stakeholders that it takes its responsibilities seriously and follows industry Best Practice. This is testament to the hard work that has gone into ensuring critical services remain resilient.”

*The scope for the certification applies to the Houses of Parliament Administrations only

About BSI: the British Standards Institution

BSI is the business standards company that equips businesses with the necessary solutions to turn standards of Best Practice into habits of excellence.

Formed in 1901, BSI was the world’s first National Standards Body and a founding member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Over a century later, BSI continues to facilitate business improvement across the globe by helping its clients drive performance, manage risk and grow sustainably through the adoption of international management systems standards (many of which were originated by the BSI).

Renowned for its marks of excellence (including the consumer-recognised BSI Kitemark), BSI’s influence spans multiple sectors including aerospace, the built environment, the food industry, healthcare and ICT.

With over 72,000 clients in 150 countries, BSI is an organisation whose standards inspire excellence across the globe.

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