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Service Agreement Information Kit for Funded Organisations

4.11 Pandemic business continuity planning

Department of Health and Human Services

The pandemic business continuity planning policy does not apply to organisations funded under a Service Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Department of Education and Training

Pandemic planning

Pandemic events pose a challenge for the continued provision of all services. Organisations are required to exercise their duty of care to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees, contractors, visitors and customers (including families and children). Accordingly, adequate business continuity planning, including pandemic planning, is required to enable the organisations to continue to deliver their key services to the community.

It is expected that organisation would work closely with local government and health authorities to manage the consequences of pandemic events.

Business continuity planning

Funded organisations are required to have Business continuity plans (BCPs) in place to continue to deliver these services. Conversely, you may need to plan for scaling down or standing down non-essential services.

Business continuity planning is the process by which business as usual operations and services are maintained to ensure critical business processes can continue to operate effectively, following a disruption to the organisation. Business continuity planning improves organisational resilience whilst minimising safety, financial, operational, reputational risks and/or other damaging consequences.

BCPs outline workaround strategies that an organisation would invoke in case of a disruption. Invoking the BCPs assists in the recovery efforts to ensure critical business processes can continue to operate.

Every organisation will benefit from having a BCP in place. BCPs that address such key disruption scenarios as loss of staff, building, IT and key supplier(s) provide an opportunity to respond to and recover from a vast array of disruptions events including pandemics, floods, fires etc.

During pandemic events, business continuity strategies about loss of staff and loss of suppliers’ need to consider the management of absenteeism of key employees and volunteers as well as significant interruptions to supplies.  It is particularly important that small organisations with limited staff and resources prepare carefully to reduce the impact of a pandemic on the continuity of their service.

During a disruption, staff and volunteers are likely to be concerned about their well-being and the well-being of their families and customers. For example, during a pandemic, between 30 and 50 per cent of an organisation’s staff and volunteers may become ill, which could have a significant impact on an organisation. The remaining staff and volunteers, not affected by the pandemic, may not show up to work. The commitment of your organisation to business continuity, including pandemic business continuity planning, is likely to assure staff and volunteers that you are planning ahead and doing your best.

Resources

For more information or assistance with business continuity management, email:

Department of Education and Training: business.continuity@edumail.vic.gov.au

For further information

Ghassan Masri, Business Continuity Officer, Risk Unit, Strategy and Planning Division, Strategy and Performance Group, Department of Education and Training
Email: business.continuity@edumail.vic.gov.au