It may be called ‘Business Continuity Management’, but BCM goes beyond the business sector and private enterprise. How government agencies, municipal authorities and communities handle staying operational in the face of adversity varies, not only between countries but even between counties. Some entities see themselves as driving forces in getting their constituents (including commercial companies) up to speed. Others adopt the role of active participation in a greater scheme of things, and as part of a larger team. If your brief is to manage business continuity for a public body or community, you may find yourself facing the choice below.

On the one hand, the ‘drivers’: these are the public organizations that either want to or have to encourage, cajole or positively push others into getting their business continuity management into good shape. The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) in Australia takes this tack on its website. It offers a range of resources to help visitors make business continuity plans that ‘are relevant, useful, and don’t just sit in a drawer’. In the UK, Surrey County Council refers to the Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 that made it mandatory for local authorities to provide local businesses and voluntary organisations advice on BCM.

On the other hand, the ‘team players’: while making business continuity management advice available, these organisations mesh in with other public authorities and bodies, such as the police, the fire, ambulance and rescue services, the public utilities (electricity, water, transport), and public health organisations. In Scotland, the Fife Council website provides a comprehensive list of links to its sister Scottish organisations for visitors to peruse. Which out of the two possibilities would make more sense for you? Each community or public entity will need to do its own analysis and choose on the basis of factors such as available resources, working relationships, past/best practice and in-house business continuity management skills.