PlanB Consulting

Planning is Everything

This week Charlie writes about major incidents in the UK and Abroad and our thoughts are with the victims and their families of all those affected by these major incidents.


There are a number of news stories, which have caught my eye this week. The most horrific was the collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh. To date, the estimate is that 350 people have been killed. People always complain in the UK about the amount of checking the Local Authorities do of new planning applications and the building designs before they are allowed to be built. The collapse of this building proves the point that all the checking is worth it to prevent buildings collapsing and the subsequent deaths.

The garment factory supplied Primark and I always think it is fascinating after these events to see the reaction on the company’s website. Primark have been criticised in the past for the use of low cost garment manufacturers. It was curious to see that they have a section on the front of their website called “Ethical Trading”. The website carries a press release stating that Primark had clothes manufactured in the building which collapsed and they were going to be supporting the community.


It’s always interesting to look at the website of a company which has been affected by a disaster and see how they respond to it. You can think if your organisation would react differently and are there any lessons to be learned for their response.
On Friday my train from Leeds to Edinburgh was delayed for two hours twenty minutes. The cause of this calamity was a lightning strike on the signals equipment. Lightning strikes are notorious for destroying electrical equipment especially telecoms and control systems. It may also be worth checking your equipment has suitable lightening protection.


The last story that caught my eye was that of the acquittal of Kimberly Hainey from Paisley in Glasgow. She was convicted of murdering her child in March 2010. The case widely reported that the mummified body of the child was found in the mother’s flat and that the child had not been seen for eight months. Much of the evidence against her was provided by two expect witnesses who claimed the child had been suffering from malnutrition and therefore could have starved to death or died through neglect. Kimberly Hainey was acquitted as the reviewing judge said the “expert witnesses” were not experts and the judge had misdirected the jury.
The lesson from this, as business continuity people, is that if there was ever an incident, you may have to convince a judge after the event that you were a business continuity expert and that the plans for dealing with the incident were prepared by a suitably qualified person. Do you have the qualifications to prove your expertise?


Talking of qualifications, the business continuity institute has recently republished its “Good Practice Guidelines”. Alongside the guidelines is a new updated BCI five days’ course. I am going to be giving the new course, the first new course delivered worldwide, on the 13-17 May in London. So if you haven’t got your CBCI qualification yet, book on the course!

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.

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