The business continuity planner is responsible for ensuring that there are plans in place for an organisation to continue to function in the event of a disaster or catastrophic event. A business continuity plan should not be considered a one off plan, it should be considered a living document, that is updated as changes within the organisation occur. The whole plan should be reviewed and tested at least once each year. The aim of a business continuity plan is to ensure that the business can continue to provide basic services till a ‘business as usual’ state can be recommenced.
The business continuity planner will lead key stakeholders within the organisation through a process where potential risks to the organisation will be identified. These risks will include range from natural and environmental risks through to technological failures and security breaches. Once potential risks have been identified, then each risk requires a mitigation strategy.
When the risks and related mitigation strategies have been identified, the business continuity planner will then clearly document each risk, the related mitigation strategy and the person(s) within the organisation who have responsibility for ensuring the strategy is enabled. The final step of the business continuity plan is to implement the plan by running a trial of the processes and procedures that have been documented. This may lead to changes in the plan as the processes identified may not meet the needs of the business.
A business continuity planner exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
Within the SFIA profile, the business continuity planner has level 5 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.
Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.
Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.
Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.
SFIA Skill Code
SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility
SFIA Skills Level Descriptor
Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.
Business risk management
Carries out risk assessment within a defined functional or technical area of business. Uses consistent processes for identifying potential risk events, quantifying and documenting the probability of occurrence and the impact on the business. Refers to domain experts for guidance on specialised areas of risk, such as architecture and environment. Co-ordinates the development of countermeasures and contingency plans.
Owns the service continuity planning process and leads the implementation of resulting plans. Coordinates the identification by specialists across the organisation of information and communication systems which support the critical business processes, and the assessment of risks to the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of those systems. Evaluates the critical risks associated with these systems and identifies priority areas for improvement. Coordinates the planning, designing, testing of maintenance procedures and contingency plans to address exposure to risk and ensure that agreed levels of continuity are maintained.
Queensland Government roles align with the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types:
- Individual contributor (manages self)
- Team leader (manages individuals)
- Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
- Executive (manages program managers)
When developing a Role Description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
A degree level qualification in areas such as business or information technology is highly regarded. Certification as a business continuity planner is a must.
Learning and development
There are a number of ways to develop and improve business continuity planning skills. Formal training and on the job experience are important ways to improve and develop the required skills.
 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth. The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. See http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf