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Business Continuity Policy

Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 24 September 2012
Date Policy Took Effect 24 September 2012
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible Officer Risk Manager
Review Date 24 September 2013

Purpose

To assist the University in minimising disruption to the continuity of its operations and to ensure the University is able to restore its operational activities as soon as possible following an Emergency.

This document should be read in conjunction with the Emergency Management Plan.

Organisational Scope

This is a University-wide policy that is focussed on:
a) Business operations that support the mission-critical functions of teaching and research and/or
b) Activities that provide significant underpinning of the University’s brand and reputation

This policy also applies to contractors and visitors to the University on University business.

Definitions

Business Continuity is the process by which an organisation makes plans to ensure its ability to continue to function during and after an Emergency.

Emergency Management Planning Group is a group convened by the Chief Operating Officer which comprises the Heads of each Service Division (or delegate/s) and a representative from the Academic Divisions. It is responsible for ensuring that detailed and integrated operational planning is done by relevant areas of the University to ensure the University is well positioned to respond to an emergency and to quickly recover after such an event.

Continuity Plan is a plan that:

  • Describes options to carry on Essential Services with diminished resources,
  • Contains information that will be needed during and after an Emergency/ disruptive event, and
  • Describes how to prepare for an Emergency

Essential Service is an activity that is essential to the core mission of the University and one that must be continued through an Emergency, or resumed soon after an Emergency, to ensure either the viability of the University or its ability to serve students, staff, funding bodies and the broader community.

Emergency is an event or series of events that can cause death or significant injuries to staff, students, or the public; or that can suspend business, disrupt operations, create significant physical or environmental damage, or that can threaten the University’s financial standing or public image.

Recovery Manager is the person responsible for facilitating and coordinating the medium and long term recovery activities of the University after an Emergency. The Recovery Manager at the University is the Chief Operating Officer.

Policy Content

1. The University is committed to carrying out its activities with the highest regard for the safety and health of its employees, students and the public and to protecting its property and preserving the environment.

2. The University will take all reasonable steps to safeguard the continuity of delivery of teaching, research and services, even when events occur which have a severe impact on the University’s operations.

3. In the event of a serious loss of, or interruption to, teaching, research and/or University services:
a) the Recovery Manager will facilitate and coordinate recovery activities. Service Divisions will give the Recovery Manager their full support.
b) If affected, Essential Services will be recovered first as the consequences for the University of the loss of, or interruption to these services are the most significant.

4. All Service Divisions are required to develop, communicate and maintain a Continuity Plan for their area of responsibility. Continuity Plans should be reviewed and updated at least once a year or when core processes or resources change within the Division.

5. Continuity Plans should take an “all hazards” approach with a focus on continuity of Essential Services regardless of the cause of the interruption. The planning goal is to have the university open for business within 14 days of an Emergency.

6. The Emergency Management Planning Group (‘the Group’) ensures that planning activities across Service Divisions are integrated, practical and reflect the needs of Academic Divisions. While the Group’s planning will specifically address business operations, these operations support the mission-critical functions of teaching and research.

7. Planning for the recovery of teaching is devolved to academic departments. Academic departments are encouraged to keep an emergency contacts list on hand and to develop alternate means of teaching. It is also advisable to keep copies of, or to back up all valuable information.

8. Planning for the recovery of research activity is devolved to academic departments and research centres. Academic departments and research centres are encouraged to consider what their options might be for back up arrangements with other organisations with research capability.

For further information about this policy, contact Alexandra Sweetman, Risk Manager, at alexandra.sweetman@otago.ac.nz

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