Expecting the #Unexpected

Expecting the #Unexpected

Issued: Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:49:00 GMT

Whether you teach at the University of Glasgow, have a senior management role, work in a service supporting students and teaching staff or if you are involved in keeping our campuses running or creating the new, World Changing Campus…how would you cope if your office was flooded or your building burned down? Or how would you keep going if 90 percent of your colleagues went down with the flu? Or Norovirus?

How long would it take you and your team to get your day-to-day teaching and services back in action?

In other words, are you Expecting the #Unexpected?

Colin Montgomery - Bus Con Officer

A new drive to help ALL the University’s Schools, Research Institutes, business units and professional services prepare for the unexpected is currently underway. This involves the creation of a business contingency plan.

The University's Business Continuity Officer, Colin Montgomery, says: "A Business Continuity Plan is a carefully thought-through process for coping with minor or major calamities – unexpected events - that could stop a School from teaching students or a University service from supporting students and the academic community. It is neatly summed up in the old war-time slogan: Keep Calm and Carry On."

Many University units already have such a plan, but they too will be reappraised over the coming months.

When bad stuff happens

* Glasgow School of Art fire 2014
* Severe winter 2010/11
* Strathclyde University fire 2012
* UofG Bower Building fire 2001
* UofG North Campus power cable cut 2015

Senior Vice-Principal, Neal Juster, said: “The process involves identifying key facilities, services, relationships and other necessities and the most urgent activities that underpin them. Once that ‘analysis’ is complete, it is about devising plans and strategies that will enable teaching or professional service teams to carry on as normal. 

“A good business continuity plan should also enable departments to recover quickly and effectively from any type disruption whatever its size or cause.”

Officially, business continuity is defined as the capability of the organization to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident. (Source: ISO 22301:2012)

The initiative is being driven by Health Safety and Wellbeing. Director Selina Woolcott told Campus e-News: “You don’t have to look very far to find grim examples of how unexpected events can turn organisations on their heads.

“The fire at the Glasgow School of Art in 2014 destroyed priceless heritage, and 90% of the Mackitosh Library. The cost of restoration could be as high as £35 million.

“Strathclyde University suffered a major fire in the James Weir building in 2012; and of course the UofG had to cope with the aftermath of the Bower Building fire of 2001.

“These might have been major incidents, but a severed high voltage cable, a burst water tank or a flu pandemic can also cause real trouble and disrupt the work of the university.

“I’m really pleased with the response we have already received to our ‘Expect the #Unexpected’ initiative. My colleagues are rolling out training in business continuity planning to every School and Service in the University. It’s a really valuable and worthwhile exercise, and I encourage everyone to take an interest and play a part.”

Want to know more and get advice?

Business Continuity and Emergency Planning - www.gla.ac.uk/services/bcep/

Want to comment or ask a question: Email – communications@glasgow.ac.uk