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It always pays to plan ahead

Blog post   •   Jul 05, 2017 16:14 BST

If anyone has ever been to the west coast of Scotland, you'll be well aware that rain is an inevitability, even during the supposed summer months. It was therefore to my surprise that I read about an outdoor Green Day concert, due to be held last night in Glasgow, that had to be cancelled due to "adverse weather".

It does make you wonder about the lack of forethought that some people have. Clearly safety has to be paramount, and if it's not safe for the concert to go ahead then it has to be cancelled. But should this not be considered in advance? Should the concert organizers not have thought that it might rain on the west coast of Scotland, so put plans in place to remedy any impact of this?

As a result, several thousand music fans were sent home disappointed with only a few hours to go before the concert was due to begin. They may get their tickets refunded, but will they get their travel and accommodation refunded? Unlikely. Several hundred workers on zero-hour contracts were sent home unpaid. Can they afford to give up their time and not get compensated for it? Unlikely. And, of course, the organizer will lose out on the revenue they would have received from the event, not to mention the reputational loss.

At the Business Continuity Institute we publish our Horizon Scan Report each year which outlines the main threats that organizations face. This report sets the baseline for what those threats are, but it's essential that organizations conduct their own horizon scan in order to assess the threats relevant to them - their sector, their location, their size or their specific circumstances. If you're hosting an outdoor concert on the west coast of Scotland, then weather should have been picked up as a potential issue.

The organizer should have considered that rain was a strong likelihood and then thought through the potential implications of this. The organizer should have looked at what mechanisms could be put in place to prevent rain from becoming a health and safety issue.

Our organizations face disruptions all the time, but with some basic preparation in advance, we can make them ready to face those disruptions so they don't become damaging.

But, if we are to help make our organizations more resilient then we need to plan ahead. We need to think through our activities and what the potential risks are. Finally we need to take action to ensure that, should those risks materialise, we can still function normally, or as close to it as possible.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute.

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