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How one large Australian council tackled the establishment of a Business Continuity Management System

Submitted by Robyn Francis on June 6, 2023

A Business Continuity Management System is crucial for smart places wanting to maintain uninterrupted services, enhance resilience, protect critical infrastructure, build stakeholder confidence, comply with regulations, and facilitate collaboration. By investing in a robust BCMS, smart places can better prepare for and respond to disruptions, ensuring the continued functioning of essential services and promoting the well-being of their residents.

Take a look at how one large Australian council tackled the establishment of their BCMS with Terra Firma

The Situation

A large Australian Council identified that it was not operating and maintaining a structured and robust Business Continuity capability and that there was a lack of experience and knowledge to implement such a program. The council recognised they needed external assistance to establish a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) inclusive of BC awareness training, policies, framework, ownership, and management competency. 

An additional significantly important aspect was to ensure compliance with the Department of Treasury and Finance’s Standing BC Instructions.

The Approach

Smart Cities Council member Terra Firma established a BCMS suited to the size and culture of the council which included:

  • Development of training modules for the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and enterprise awareness of business continuity;
  • Delivery of training and awareness for internal staff with business continuity or crisis management roles; and
  • Quality assurance of project outputs, and identification of improvements where required

In addition, Terra Firma introduced the BCMS with sensitivity to the pressures and culture of the council by: 

  • providing an industry expert to offer guidance and support
  • establishing a mentor relationship with the nominated BC Council manager to ensure the knowledge is retained within the organisation

The Outcome

Terra Firma introduced a modified version of its BCMS methodology to suit the council. Through the duration of the project, and as the project working group changed and matured in its BC competence, the style of engagement evolved. For example:

  • The early stages of the project maintained a heavy education and training focus which changed overtime to a facilitation and mentoring approach.
  • Some workshops were replaced with one-on-one meetings to save time.
  • Additional sessions were established to explore the relationships between Crisis Management, Incident Management, Emergency Management, and events impacting on the community.
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