A business continuity or disaster recovery plan sets out how the school would cope if some disaster happened – for example, the premises burning down or flooding, a large scale theft of equipment or a total failure of the school’s IT system. It is required to be in place as part of the Schools Financial Value Standard (as it was under FMSiS). Here are some sample outline plans (check whether your LA already has a template version or centralised IT backup systems):
- School Business Continuity Plan template a
- School Business Continuity Plan template b
- School Business Continuity Plan template c
- And also: School Business Continuity Plan guidance from a local authority (see below)
- Other useful websites, containing more templates and guidance documents: Hammersmith and Fulham Kent and East Sussex
- See the SFVS FAQ from the DfE and their downloadable Support notes for all questions within the SFVS.
- More information on SFVS from C2G is here
These are the DfE’s support notes for Q23 of the SFVS:
Does the school have an appropriate business continuity or disaster recovery plan, including an up-to-date asset register and adequate insurance?
(as accessed March 2102)
A What does the question mean?
1 What is a business continuity or disaster recovery plan?
A business continuity or disaster recovery plan sets out how the school would cope if some disaster happened – for example, the premises burning down or flooding, a large scale theft of equipment or a total failure of the school’s IT system.
2 Why is it important?
A disaster in the school may seem very unlikely to happen. It is indeed unlikely to happen, but if it did happen the consequences would be very grave. It is therefore important that all schools have an adequate and up-to-date disaster recovery plan.
3 What areas does a plan need to cover?
As a minimum, a plan needs to look at contingency arrangements for: if the school’s premises were not available for an extended period (e.g. because of fire or flood); large scale loss of property (e.g. through fire or theft); loss of information through catastrophic failure of IT systems; mass unavailability of staff (e.g. through a pandemic).
B Good practice
4 All schools should ensure they have an appropriate plan
The plan will need to cover:
- premises that could be used if the school’s own premises became unavailable for an extended period;
- an asset register of items in the school that need to be recorded for insurance purposes, to be kept where it would not be vulnerable to a disaster in the school;
- adequate insurance for premises and contents;
- daily backing up off-site of the school’s important IT systems; and
- contingencies for significant simultaneous absence of staff.
Individual schools may be aware of additional local hazards that they ought to cover.
The plan must be kept up-to-date: any element of it that has become out of date is likely to be of no use in an emergency.
Maintained schools should liaise with their local authority (LA) about what should be recorded in the plan. For example, the LA may have generalised arrangements for emergency premises; it may have particular requirements for the asset register; it may provide insurance for its schools; it may provide some of the IT systems and have its own back-up arrangements.
5 All schools should ensure they have adequate insurance
Schools should ensure they have met legal requirements for insurance as some insurances are legally compulsory. For maintained schools, the local authority scheme for financing schools should provide more information. Adequate insurance should compensate for large losses that otherwise could not be sustained, such as a major fire in a school.
C What do you do if things are not right in your school?
6 What to do if you do not have a disaster recovery plan
Maintained schools should begin by speaking to their local authority to find out what they offer and what the plan should contain. All schools without a plan need to draw one up as soon as possible.
7 What to do if your plan is out of date
An out of date plan will need to be updated urgently. Maintained schools should do this in liaison with their local authority.
8 Further information
The local authority is the first source of information on disaster recovery plans, up-to-date assets register and adequate insurance for maintained schools. It also has a more general role in emergency planning which will be relevant for other schools.
There is a lot of material on the internet explaining what business continuity/disaster recovery plans are: some of this is free of charge and can be used to think about what a plan should contain in the school’s particular circumstances. In addition, the following provide help and advice:
Department for Education (DfE) – http://www.education.gov.uk/ – this website contains a range of information and resources for schools.
Guide to the law for school governors – information on the statutory responsibilities of a school’s governing body, including details of its legal responsibilities.
Guidance on Insurance – information on the types of insurance that schools must have by law. (END OF SUPPORT NOTES)
END of C2G post
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