Business Continuity

Business Continuity

This page provides information about how the University prepares for disruptive incidents, eg extreme weather, loss of utilities, or cyber attacks, to minimise interruptions to teaching, research and other professional services.

Arrangements can be split into three main parts:

  1. Preparation:This is the planning which we do in advance of an incident. It involves the identification of key business functions and of the ways in which they might be disrupted by foreseeable major incidents and, where required, continuity strategies are put in place. 
  2. Response:These are the actions we take in the minutes and hours immediately following an incident. It involves liaison with the emergency services and the steps we take to gain control of what could be a fast moving situation in order to minimise the risks of further damage. We have developed plans for the range of responses which might be required.
  3. Recovery: At the same time as 'Response' activities, business continuity plans would be activated so we can resume teaching, research and the provision of our other professional services. Plans have been developed by individual Schools and Directorates. 

The University has an overarching Emergency Management Plan for response and recovery. We have an Emergency Management Team which would oversee both the response and recovery phases. The Plan would be invoked following a major incident which cannot be handled using the normal day to day management structures and decision making processes of the University.


Please visit the Policy Zone to read the University's Business Continuity Policy.

Increasingly, there are expectations that large organisations should have in place formal business continuity systems which prepare them for disruptive incidents and set out the arrangements designed to minimise the effects on the key services which they provide.

This policy provides the framework within which the University makes arrangements to ensure that key business functions which have been disrupted by a major incident are recovered quickly enough to keep impact on the overall business of the University within acceptable limits. It was last revised and approved in July 2021.


University Business Continuity Advisers

Local Business Continuity Coordinators

Emergency Plan

These documents are available only to designated members of staff.



Incident Response Team

Led by a Director as appropriate to the nature of the incident: 

  • Inform University senior management about the incident;
  • Provide an immediate response to the incident;
  • Call in staff and resources from elsewhere in the University and deploy them as required;
  • Liaise with and take advice from the emergency services;
  • Obtain details of any injuries and provide next of kin details;
  • Initiate actions to safeguard the immediate safety and welfare of staff and students involved in or affect by the incident (eg provide shelter, catering, support);
  • Keep the Communications Team informed about the incident;
  • Assess damage and liaise with the insurance team/loss adjusters if necessary;
  • Provide information to the Emergency Management Team.
Schools / Directorates

School/Directorates will

  • Work under the direction of the Incident Response Team in providing an immediate response to the incident;
  • As necessary, ensure that other members of staff know about the incident and are on standby ready to assist if required.
Emergency Management Team
  • Led by University Secretary or Senior Vice-Principal will:

    • Receive reports on the incident from the Incident Response Team and consider the consequences for the University;
    • Agree the strategy for communicating information about the incident to interested parties both inside and outside the University;
    • Determine what support needs to be provided for staff, students and others affected by the incident (including staff who are handling the response to the incident);
    • Identify key business functions disrupted by the incident and agree recovery priorities for those functions;
    • Set up recovery teams as required and prioritise resources needed for recovery.
Emergency Communications Team

Led by Head of Communications will:

  • Communicate information about the incident to all interested parties including staff, students, families of those affected by the incident, media and the local community.
School Recovery Teams

Led by Heads of School will:

  • Initiate actions to recover key business functions which are the responsibility of the School;
  • Liaise with the Emergency Communications Team in providing information to staff, students and others;
  • Report to and act under the direction of the Emergency Management Team.
Directorate Recovery Teams

Led by Heads of Section will:

  • Initiate actions to recover key business functions which support the Schools;
  • Report to and act under the direction of the Emergency Management Team.

Causes of Disruption

Building and Contents
  • Fire
  • Building collapse
  • Flood
  • Utility failure (electricity, water, gas, steam)
  • HVAC - heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • Release of hazardous substance
  • Security alert
  • Civil disorder
  • Terrorism
  • Vandalism
IT and Communications
  • IT failure – hardware, software and malicious attack
  • Telephone failure
  • Successful virus or malware attack
  • Malicious internal staff attack
  • Loss of personalised / sensitive data
  • Failure of key supplier
  • Failure of key supply chain
  • Failure of outsourced IT