25 May 2006 | Anusha Bradley
UK firms are failing to prepare for supply interruptions in the event of a disaster.
According to the results of a survey published last week, only 49 per cent of the 1,150 public and private sector organisations quizzed had a plan detailing how they would keep the business running in the event of a disaster, such as an earthquake, pandemic or terrorist attack.
Of that 49 per cent, only one in 10 had informed suppliers of the plan. A third of the firms questioned required critical suppliers to also have a plan, but only 7 per cent required all suppliers to do so.
The research was produced by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Cabinet Office's continuity forum, a government-funded body which provides continuity advice for businesses.
Jo Causon, CMI marketing and corporate affairs director, said these results uncovered a worrying gap between perception and reality.
"Unless thoroughly considered, organisations leave themselves wide open to a variety of threats and potential disruption," she said.
Alan Day, managing director at State of Flux, a supply risk management consultancy, told SM procurement teams were "not taking business continuity as seriously as they should be".
He added: "Procurement should be looking at the risk in their supply chain and factoring that into their buying decisions. Purchasers should not just look at price but also at the business continuity risk as part of the total cost of ownership."
A provision in the Civil Contingencies Act that requires local authorities to provide business continuity advice to local firms came into force last week. The government has published guidance to help businesses on www.pfe.gov.uk