I am not a huge Formula 1 fan, rather than sit down and watch an F1 race on a Sunday afternoon, it is a sport which I follow from afar and roughly know what is happening. I was just reading an article in the “i” newspaper which put forward the idea that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone should cancel the race in Bahrain due to the present unrest. The point the paper was making was that by not cancelling the race, as they did last year, that this makes F1 complacent in supporting the regime, reinforcing the Bahrain Government’s view that the trouble is very minor and that the protests have stopped. At the end of the day, F1 is a business, it is there to make money and as they would say “are not involved in politics”, they are only interested in creating race spectacles throughout the world, events that people will pay for. For the business continuity manager decisions on whether to go into a country and do business, especially controversial ones, and countries where there is lots of political risk will normally be made at board level and it is unlikely that the business continuity manager will be consulted on these decisions. What we have to be ready to do is to pick up the pieces if it all goes wrong. At our end we need to have our crisis / strategic plan in place and exercised, we need to make sure that our media response is ready and we need to have good monitoring of the situation so that we are in a position to react very quickly if it all goes wrong. One of the plans which is not a traditional plan for business continuity managers to have to write is “country evacuation” plans and how you manage the evacuation of your expatriate staff from the country. This plan might have to be enacted when there is wide scale civil unrest or when there has been a natural disaster and the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged. In this plan we also have to think about local members of staff as well as their families and whether or not we should evacuate them or provide extra support in the affected country or do we just “let them fend for themselves”? As business continuity people we do not always get an input into the risks our organisations are willing to take, but we must anticipate what can go wrong and make sure we have well rehearsed plans in place should the worst happen. Ian our Executive Officer, asked me to write a piece on the fact it is 100 days until the Olympics starts. Although I am a doom monger by trade, I hope and believe that if we all do our contingency planning and preparation that this fantastic event will pass and be remembered for its great athletics rather than a terrorist attack or an organisational disaster. So my message on this is to ‘keep planning’ and keep our fingers crossed that the event will pass without a hitch!
F1 Bahrain unrest
About Charlie Maclean-Bristol
Charlie Maclean-Bristol is one of the Founders and Directors of PlanB Consulting. He is also the Training Director of Business Continuity Training Ltd., a UK-based training provider accredited by the Business Continuity Institute. Charlie is a former Business Continuity Institute board member and one of the very few Fellows of both the Emergency Planning Society and the Business Continuity Institute.
A former Infantry Captain in the British Army, Charlie held several emergency planning, business continuity and crisis management positions within the energy and utility industry before founding PlanB Consulting in 2007. Over the past twelve years, Charlie has delivered business continuity consultancy in 6 of the worlds 7 continents, frequently providing full business continuity roll-outs to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors.