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This element of the BCM lifecycle ensures
that an organisation’s BCM arrangements are
validated by exercise and review and that they
are kept up to date.
Your BCM arrangements cannot be considered
reliable until they are exercised and have
proved to be workable. Exercising should
involve: validating plans; rehearsing key staff;
and testing systems which are relied upon to
deliver resilience. The frequency of exercises
will depend on your organisation, but should
take into account the rate of change (to the
organisation or risk proﬁle), and outcomes of
previous exercises (if particular weaknesses
have been identiﬁed and changes made).
As a minimum we would suggest plans are
The four main types are testing, discussion,
table-top and live exercises.
Testing – Not all aspects of your plan can be
tested, but some crucial elements can, such as
the contact list and the activation process. You
can also use this type of exercise to test your
back-up power, communications equipment
and information management arrangements.
A discussion based exercise is the
cheapest to run and easiest to prepare. This
type of exercise will bring staff together to
inform them of the plan and their individual
responsibilities. It will also involve a
discussion of the plan to identify problems and
solutions. This type of exercise is particular
useful for training purposes and provides an
important tool for embedding BCM in your
organisation’s culture. It is also effective as an
initial validation of a new plan.
A table-top exercise is scenario based and
for small to medium sized organisations is
likely to offer the most efﬁcient method of
validating plans and rehearsing key staff. It
brings staff together to take decisions as a
scenario unfolds in very much the same way
they would in the event of a real incident.
Ordinarily it will be held in a round table
format and last between 2 hours and half a
day. The advantage of this type of exercise
is that it engages players imaginatively,
generates high levels of realism and provides
participants with an opportunity to get to know
the people with whom they would work in the
event of a real incident.
As a point of reference to help you develop
your own scenario, an example of a bad
weather scenario has been developed. This
can be viewed on-line, or can be saved to your
PC (to save open link and select “File” and
then “Save As” from your browser toolbar).
The main challenge in designing this type
of exercise is in developing the scenario
and setting questions for the participants to
consider. In some cases your LRF http://www.
lrfs.shtm will be able to help but it also
possible to do this yourself. In developing a
scenario you should:
Keep it simple
Ensure the scenario is relevant and
realistic – the best way to do this is to refer
back to the “understanding your business”
element of the BCM process and think
about the scenarios that you considered
when thinking about the risks your
5. Exercising, maintaining and reviewing