Business Continuity


(Business continuity is) the capability of the organisation to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable pre defined levels following a disruptive incident.

ISO 22301:2012


Business Continuity Management (BCM) is concerned with improving the resilience of the University of Sheffield.

This means developing its ability to detect, prevent, minimise and where necessary, deal with the impact of disruptive events or incidents. 

BCM provides the capability for the University to ensure continuity of its 'priority activities' including teaching and research, supporting their recovery following any disruptive event. Priority activities being the activities that, if disrupted, would have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.

In other words, Business Continuity (BC) enables the urgent or priority activities of the University to continue, though they may be delivered differently and likely at a lower level than usual.

The process

Each department at the University is expected to go through the Business Continuity (BC) process, and the BC Manager(s) will support this process. 

There is also a toolkit for this, which can be accessed by Sheffield University staff (Google Drive link).

There are two key stages to the process 

  1. Business Impact Analysis (BIA) - An impact analysis, to identify what you need to keep running based on the impacts if these stopped i.e. the priority activities (and what can be suspended for a short time)
  2. Business Continuity plan (BCP) - Using the information collated in 1. to develop a plan and assess this, usually by a short exercise or using learning from any recent incidents.

The Business Continuity Plan

Departments should use their plans when a disruptive incident or event occurs.   

The plan should contain the information needed to help the department respond to and manage any incident, including the priority activities that the department needs to keep running. 

Just as you prioritise your work based on the deadlines you have and the impact if you didn't complete it, BC focuses on the activities that are most "time-critical" and would have the greatest impact if they were not performed.  

So the plan can be used for any incident, it does not cover specific scenarios. Instead it includes arrangements to deal with the impacts of the incident, ie alternative options or the “plan B’ for a loss of  staff, buildings and facilities, ICT and data, equipment and suppliers, and communications.

The disruption could be something minor which you would be expected to manage locally, or major - a University Team would be set up to lead on the response but you would still need to implement the arrangements in your plan and link into the University’s Major Incident Team as appropriate.

Find out more on the Incident management page.

Incident contacts system

It is recommended that a copy of your business continuity plan is stored in the incident contacts system, because it is secure and there is an offsite version that can still be accessed if University IT systems are unavailable, though you will need to bookmark this link.

The file will need to be uploaded as a PDF and you can set a time to review to remind you to update it to the latest version. 

This also allows you to easily share the plan with others in your department or other departments.

The incident contacts system can be used to store contacts for business continuity purposes, using the departmental lists functionality.

Incident contacts information for staff (staff login required)

Additional information

Business Continuity Policy and Framework (PDF, 166 KB)

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.