We're in the business of continuity

By on 24/08/2009 in Blog

Steve Grogan, Head of Birmingham City Council's Resilience Team, explains just how Birmingham City Council is working with the business community to tackle the swine flu pandemic.

I was amazed to read claims earlier today that local authorities are failing in their duty to help firms prepare for swine flu (see right)

That's certainly not the case here in Birmingham, where there has been a constant ongoing dialogue with the business community - as the Forum of Private Business would know if they had bothered to check.

For example, we gave business continuity advice to over 5,000 local businesses when we launched our Birmingham City Centre evacuation plan and have carried our numerous exercises with local firms.

We've had business continuity stands at Chamber of Commerce events and hosted workshops with utility companies.

In the last couple of months, in partnership with West Midlands Police, we've conducted three Exercise Argus business continuity sessions for city businesses, where pandemic guidance and advice has been given out. Another, taking place next month, is already fully booked by over 60 businesses.

We've worked well with media contacts to promote business continuity and our website offers general business continuity advice.

http://www.birminghamprepared.gov.uk/businesses-prepared

In short, swine flu is one of a number of factors that can impact on the business continuity of both the private and public sector.

We have been working closely with businesses, promoting business continuity for the last four years and fully understand that the lifeblood of this city is its businesses.

So swine flu or no swine flu, business continuity promotion will stay top of our agenda and claims that local authorities are 'failing over swine flu' certainly don't reflect the true picture here in Birmingham.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Terry says:

    Interesting blog and an interesting article!

    Especially the bit that says:

    “The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said it issued the warning after learning that councils were obliged to help businesses put in place measures”

    The FPB isn’t serving its members well, if it has taken approx 5yrs for them to wake up to emerging leglislation!!!

  2. Chris Gorman says:

    I work for the FPB and all I can say is we applaud Birmingham City Council for its efforts. We would just like to see such an approach adopted more widely.

    Contrary to the above, our press release made clear that we were not claiming that all councils were failing to do help their local businesses prepare for swine flu. Instead, it merely stated that, as far as we were aware, none of our members had received any help or guidance.
    To suggest we should have contacted every local authority in the UK for a response is a little unrealistic, considering there are around 470 in total and we have finate resources. We did, however, raise our concerns with the Local Government Association but have not yet heard back from them.

    As for the comment from “Terry” – we serve our members very well in a lot different ways but I think it’s slightly strange to expect us to be expert in all the countless pieces of government legislation. By its very nature, the Civil Contingencies Act was not of direct relevance to small businesses until a major crisis, ie swine flu, unfolded. This is why we’ve been looking into it recently to see how it affects our members – and what we can do to help.

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