Business Continuity Policy template

business continuity policy template uk

Download the Business Continuity Policy template here.

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About this template

  • A business continuity policy sets out the intentions and direction of your business continuity programme and communicates the scope and requirements to your employees.
  • This helps your employees understand their roles and responsibilities for delivering the programme so they can meet the expectations.
  • A policy can also explain the legal and regulatory requirements that need to be met.
  • If you include a short statement from your leadership team that explains the importance of the programme to your business, this shows your employees that business continuity is taken seriously and is essential to your organization.

The business continuity policy template will need to be customized to your organization. If you have a business continuity policy in place, you may want to check out my business impact analysis template for the next phase in your business continuity programme.

Other relevant templates available to download

business continuity policy template uk

Please find below a list of Frequently Asked Questions for the Business Continuity Policy

What is a business continuity policy.

The business continuity policy sets out the intentions and direction for the business continuity programme, and communicates the scope and requirements.

Why do we have a business continuity policy?

The business continuity policy is used to communicate the purpose, scope, framework and requirements of the business continuity programme to interested parties so they understand the expectations and how they contribute to the programme. Without a business continuity policy, staff may be unclear how the business continuity programme is structured and what their responsibilities are.

What is the purpose of a business continuity policy?

The purpose of the business continuity policy is to communicate to interested parties the purpose, scope, framework and requirements of the business continuity programme. This helps to set the context and expectations, including why business continuity is important to the organization.

What should a business continuity policy include?

The contents of the business continuity policy may vary depending on whether you intend to:

However, typically a business continuity policy might include:

I have seen other organizations include statements of commitment to business continuity from their CEO, which I was personally impressed with as I feel that sends a positive message throughout the organization that your business continuity programme has strong leadership commitment.

If you are working towards ISO 22301 then that includes the requirements you would need to meet and similarly the BCI also identify what a business continuity policy should include in their Good Practice Guidelines so depending on your intentions with your business continuity programme, it is best to consult the relevant documentation.

Supporting Information

The business continuity policy helps you communicate to staff that you are implementing a business continuity programme and provides both direction and requirements.

Top Tip

If you have uploaded your business continuity policy to your intranet, we would advise not to assume staff have read it. It needs to be communicated throughout your organization. Our advice would be to liaise with your Communications department and to discuss how best to communicate the business continuity policy. If you have a weekly or fortnightly staff briefing email for example, that could provide one method for communicating your business continuity policy.

For more information on Business Continuity, we very much recommend looking at the Business Continuity Institute’s Good Practice Guidelines .


Without a business continuity policy, staff may be unaware of the scope of the business continuity programme, their role or even that a business continuity programme exists. This could lead to confusion and cause issues with implementing your business continuity management system.

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What is a business continuity plan?

3-minute read

Business continuity plan

Catriona Smith

11 February 2022

What is a business continuity plan and why do you need one? Even as a small business, it’s vital to know the steps you’d follow if you’re faced with a crisis.

By assessing the risks and planning your response, you can help keep your business running (or get back on track as quickly as possible) in the event of a disaster.

Here’s how to write a business continuity plan.

That’s where a business continuity plan comes in.

A business continuity plan is an important document that details how you’ll keep your business going in the event of disruption or a disaster. This could be anything from floods or a fire to a cyber attack , utility outage, financial crisis, or a pandemic.

You might also find a business continuity plan useful if a supplier fails to deliver, a client doesn’t pay , or if key employees are off sick or resign.

Assessing all the potential risks to your business – and having a plan for how to adapt and respond to them – is a key feature of a business continuity plan. By outlining your response, you (and your staff) will know exactly what to do if there’s an emergency.

Insure your business against the unexpected

Make sure you’re covered if the worst should happen.

Business interruption insurance can cover you if an incident happens that means you have to stop trading for a period of time.

Business buildings insurance can cover you if your business premises (including home businesses ) is damaged or destroyed.

You may also want to organise stock cover if you’re storing stock on your business premises. Any damage or theft could leave you struggling to meet client orders – and get paid.

How to write a business continuity plan – step-by-step

While the risks will vary depending on industry and the size of your business, a business continuity plan usually covers:

Follow the checklist below to make sure you’re looking after your business and that you have a strategy for when things don’t go to plan.

1. Risk assessment and business impact

What are the risks and how could this impact your business?

As well as the environmental disasters and crises related to technology and security mentioned above, think about any potential internal challenges too. What happens if you face problems with cash flow ? What about if you lose a key member of staff?

Next, think about how your potential risks could impact the following areas of your business, and how you’d manage them:

When reviewing the risks, you should also assess how likely each risk is to happen and add a timescale for a resolution to be found.

It can take some time to explore all the possible risks to your business, but it’s an important part of business strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked.

2. Identify critical functions

If the business could fall apart if something doesn’t get done, then that’s ‘business critical’. You’ll need to document this and highlight how you can mitigate any risks around it.

Let’s say you’re the owner of a craft business and bad weather causes issues with your supply chain, meaning some of your products won’t get delivered. This could affect your ability to meet client orders. To mitigate the risk, your plan could identify back-up suppliers and remind you to do a stock take regularly.

3. Roles and responsibilities

If you’re a larger business, then your business continuity plan should include a list of key people and their contact details. You should also document roles, and clarify additional responsibilities if an emergency process was to kick-in.

Even if you’re a sole trader without employees, including a list of key contacts like utility companies and suppliers can be a useful reference to include in your plan.

4. Communication and emergency response checklist

You’ll want to create an emergency response checklist that outlines the actions your business needs to take in the hours and days after an emergency event.

Part of this will involve creating a communication plan, which will save you time and be one less thing to think about during a crisis. This could simply be an outline of who needs to be kept updated, for example letting your customers know if your order processing time may take longer while you deal with an issue.

You might also find it useful to draft press releases, emails, and social media posts in advance.

The challenge is making sure you get the tone right. Showing empathy to customers and communicating in a clear and timely way will help you maintain good customer service .

5. Test and review

Finally, it’s important to make sure that your plan works before you have to use it. Test each stage of your plan, train your staff (if you have any), and develop and add to it if anything is unclear.

While you’ll always hope you never need to use this plan, it’s like business insurance , it’s there to protect your business. That’s why it’s important to review it regularly so it’s up to date and can be relied on in an emergency.

More useful articles for small business owners

How to do a business SWOT analysis

Cost of living support for small businesses

What is the continuous improvement process?

What does business insurance cover?

Have you got a continuity plan for your business? Let us know in the comments.

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Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Even some of the most experienced business owners can be caught short when they’re faced with the unexpected. That’s why it’s important to have a tried-and-tested plan ready and waiting should the worst happen. Whether it’s a heavy snowstorm or a sudden broadband outage, business continuity is about keeping your business up and running when things go wrong.

According to the Office for National Statistics , over 10% of UK businesses fail each year. And while there are lots of reasons a business can go under, many fail because they’re unable to recover from a single event that suddenly devastates their business.  Here, AXA explains more about business continuity planning and you’ll find an easy-to-follow checklist and template so you can start thinking about your own plan.

What is business continuity planning?

Business continuity planning refers to the systems and procedures that allow businesses to maintain or quickly resume functions in the event of a major disruption. Essentially, business continuity is like having a back-up plan.

A business continuity plan should outline procedures and instructions for staff members in the event of a disaster. The plan should cover things like:

Business continuity plans are commonly used when businesses experience disruption during extreme weather. But they also come in handy for day-to-day problems like your customers not paying on time, a staff member being off sick, or a supplier letting you down.  

Here, AXA shares some tips and advice to get you thinking about what your own business continuity plan might look like. However, when it comes to putting your plan down to paper, we recommend consulting with professional bodies or other experts. The Business Continuity Institute and the ISO – Business Continuity Management Systems can help with business continuity planning standards and frameworks. They also provide training and resources (many of which are free) to businesses who need help with continuity planning.

Carry out a risk assessment

Before writing your business continuity plan, you’ll want to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment to identify the areas where your business is more vulnerable. Here’s a brief risk assessment checklist with the most common things to consider…

Top tip:  Get your staff involved in the risk assessment because they might be able to identify things you’re not aware of.

AXA offer a range of Risk Management guides which you can access guides here.

Write the BCP: what to include

For smaller businesses and sole traders, business continuity plans (BCP) don’t need to be as complex as the BCPs large corporations have.  In your risk assessment, you will have identified several key areas of vulnerability and they be the focus of your plan. For example, your key areas might be things like ‘burglary’, ‘flooding’, ‘fire’ or a ‘staff member leaving’ and therefore the main body of your BCP will be made up of checklists in each of these key areas. The checklists will detail different scenarios and explain who’s responsible for what and provide timescales for different tasks.

A comprehensive contact list of all the important people you might need to speak to in an emergency is an essential part of business continuity planning. This will include key customers and suppliers, staff members, local emergency services and insurance providers. It’s good practice to update your BCP contact list regularly. And remember, any personal information about your employees must be kept secure and only shared with those who have a need to know.

You’ll also want to include an action and expenses logbook which is a great way to understand what worked well and what didn’t so you can improve your processes in the future. Equally, it can be a useful tool to document any essential expenses to show your insurance company

Top tip : Write your BCP in plain English so it’s easy to understand and everyone knows what’s expected of them. Instead of jargon and long-winded explanations, use simple sentences and bullet points.

Test and communicate the BCP

Good communication is essential when it comes to business continuity. Everyone who works for your business should read and understand the BCP before it’s fully implemented. This means you’ll have time to plan any additional training the staff might need.  To test your BCP, you might want to rehearse your responses to the key areas you identified in your risk assessment. This will give you time to iron out any issues and ensure everyone knows exactly what to do and when.

Some businesses choose to send their BCPs to key customers and suppliers so everyone’s on the same page. It also means if you do encounter an emergency or disaster, you won’t need to waste your time sending it to all the relevant people. 

Business continuity plan checklist

This business continuity plan (BCP) checklist template is a simple outline that you can build on and make specific to your business. When you go to create your own BCP, we recommended consulting with the Business Continuity Institute or other professional bodies.


Contact lists

Action and expenses log, business continuity plan example for uk business.

The introduction to your business continuity plan will include company information and contact details as well the overall objectives for the BCP. It might look something like this…

This Business Continuity Plan has been designed to prepare ‘ Company Name’ to cope with the effects of an emergency. This document will provide instructions so ‘Company Name’s’ business functions can be maintained or quickly resumed in the event of a major disruption. 

Key area checklist

For every area of vulnerability you identify in your risk assessment, you should complete a checklist to outline what the response should be.  Here’s an example of a checklist to give you an idea of what to include…

When you’re creating a list of contacts for your BCP, it’s important to consider who you might need to speak to in an emergency. Most continuity plans have contact details for staff members, suppliers, customers, utility companies, local emergency services and insurance and banking companies.

When you’re dealing with an emergency and following your business continuity plan, it’s a good idea to document what you’re doing and when. Not only will it help you understand what worked and what didn’t in your BCP, but it could also act as evidence of the costs incurred during an emergency or for any potential insurance claims.

Your logbook might look something like this…

Insuring your business against interruption or unforeseen events

 Having business insurance should be an integral part of any business continuity plan. AXA’s business insurance gives you protection from everyday business risks to large, unexpected compensation claims. It can protect your work, your people, your reputation, and ultimately, your future livelihood.

 With AXA’s business insurance you can easily combine different covers and choose from a list of add-ons. So you only pay for the cover you need. You’ll leave with business insurance unique to your business, no one else’s. Click here to find out more about business insurance and how much the level of cover you need might cost. 

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