PlanB Consulting

The Role of the Business Continuity Manager

This week I look at the role of the BCM within our organisations.

As I have been carrying out several exercises over the last few weeks, I thought I would have a look at the role of the business continuity manager during an incident. 

The business continuity manager should have a number of skills:

1.     The best knowledge of how business continuity should be managed within their organisation, as well as an understanding of the recovery strategies and the state of preparedness.

2.     Up to date knowledge as they live and breathe business continuity, whereas others responding to an incident may have taken part in training or an exercise some time ago. 

3.     Part of the role is to have training or have studied incident management so they should be in a position to advise those responding to the incident. They should also be able to advise on some of the consequences of their actions, taking into account lessons learned from other organisations’ responses.

So what are the different models for the business continuity manager?

1.     Assist the incident team leader and advise them on matters of incident management. Guide them on responding to the incident, almost as if they were a super user of business continuity within the organisation. This could be at the operational level, tactical or strategic.

2.     Have no role in incident management at all. Their role ends when the incident starts.

3.     Manage the incident. There is a client of ours who have a business continuity team and they will manage the incident. The business units will provide members of the team but they are under the control of the central BC team.

4.     There is also the role which could be combined with the first role. The BCM manages the administration team supporting the incident team, or even plays that role themselves.

Some of the roles of the BCM depend on the culture of the organisation but also on their character. If they are seen as a leader they may well be seen as the natural person to lead the team, most probably at the tactical or operational level. My only issue with this is that I always think the person who should lead a team is the person who is going to be sacked or go to jail if they get the response wrong. The BCM might not always be seen as the right person to hold this role.

I always combine roles 1 and 4, but would be interested to hear of any other thoughts!

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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