10 Brexit Contingency Actions You Can Do Now

Posted on 22 February

This week Charlie shares 10 actions you can carry out now in preparation of a no-deal Brexit.


This week, I have been running workshops for an organisation who are looking at what planning they should carry out in preparation of a no-deal Brexit. So in today's bulletin, I thought I would share 10 actions you can carry out NOW to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. From reading up on the subject, it seems that if things continue as they have been, then we will not know the final shape of Brexit until the week of the 21st March. This is when the final summit between the UK government and the EU will happen, and where the final negotiations will take place. It is only then, that we might know whether a no-deal Brexit is going to take place. Doing nothing until you get clarity should not be an option for readers of this bulletin, and as we might not find out until the last moment, you should do something now. The actions you should consider are:

1. Think about your exposure to a no-deal Brexit, and what the possible impact on your organisation might be. I like this list of possible consequence areas in an EY report I read:

   a. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers
   b. Sourcing and supply resilience
   c. Legal and regulatory compliance
   d. Workforce
   e. EU funding and finance
   f. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

2. Think about whether you are going to operate a Brexit Operating Regime over the Brexit period. Some car manufactures have long in advance decided to close down their businesses over this period, so they can access the solution before resuming production. When Brexit does occur, will you change your business practices, or at least have a plan in place to call together an incident team if it starts to impact your organisation?

3. If you are no-deal planning, you need to decide what scenarios you are planning against; is it Armageddon, with riots and looting of the last bits of food in the supermarkets, or is it something much less substantial, such as a national shortage of Spanish tomatoes. If possible, try and get hold of a copy of the government’s national or regional planning assumptions, and use their ‘Reasonable Worst-Case Scenario’ to plan for. If you can’t get hold of the assumptions, I am sure if you look on government websites you will be able to get a reasonable idea of the types of incident you should be preparing for.

4. Start speaking to your customers about what preparations you are making and reassure them that they don’t need to worry about the service you supply them with, or if you know there will be impacts, let them know what these might be. Otherwise, your customers may make contingencies to be supplied by other suppliers and you might permanently lose them. Planning early might help you deepen your relationship with your customers.

5. In a similar way, start having conversations with your suppliers. Find out what planning they are carrying out, and what assurance they can give you of continuity of service. Assuming that they will just be okay is very dangerous in our business!

6. Understand your deadlines and when the ‘last safe moment’ is before you need to make important decisions. For example, if you are exporting to Japan, the last container ship which will definitely arrive whilst we are still in the EU and doesn’t risk being held up in the ports, has already left the UK. What are your deadlines and when will you have to make changes to how your organisation operates?

7. What is your exposure to EU citizens within your workforce, and who may want to leave and go home sometime after Brexit? If the economy slows and the pound falls, the benefit they gain for staying in the UK diminishes. Speak to the workforce, they may be very settled in the UK and unlikely to go, or they may have no roots in the UK and may chase the money or promotion in another country. If you use EU citizens to do low paid, seasonal or undesirable jobs, where might you find replacement workers? With low unemployment rates those posts may be difficult to fill.

8. Think about whether Brexit will increase or decrease the requirements for your services and if so, are you ready to increase or decrease your workforce, production or activities?

9. Consider whether something else could go wrong at the same time as Brexit. It is worth having a look at the other risks you are vulnerable to and how Brexit would make the situation better or worse. This is always an issue, and there are deliberately caused incidents to coincide with, such as protests, a cyber incident or terrorist attack, as well accidents or natural disasters, which unexpectedly occur at the same time.

10. Keep up-to-date with events and as always, when we are planning, think about the opportunities from a no-deal Brexit! I thought the BBC Sounds Podcast “Brexitcast" was excellent.