Ashley Seed, CMAC's Head of Business Development, shares his thoughts on private cars within business continuity plans.

As it's Business Continuity Awareness Week I thought I would share with you some of the questions that I often find myself discussing. I have found over the last few years that an often overlooked piece of the business continuity plan jigsaw is transport. Essentially, how do you move your people in the event of a disruption at one or more of your sites? If circumstances demanded an invocation of your business plan would any of your staff need to use their own cars? If so you may want to consider the implications.

Would your company be liable if an employee had an accident driving to a work area recovery site in their own car?

You would probably assume not and that your employee's personal car insurance, whether social and commuting to business cover would cover them. But many employees may not be paying for business use (unless you are reimbursing them), and social and commuting cover only applies to commuting to a single, permanent place of work. This means that if an employee had an accident on their way to a WAR (work area recovery) site that it may prove to be a problem for the employer rather than the employee as they could be deemed to be acting within the scope of their employment.

If that's given you something to think about you may also want to consider:

  • Are there provisions within your company's business continuity plan for transport? If so, are arrangements in place for both the immediate evacuation of staff and for on-going transport to and from an alternative WAR if necessary?
  • Have you considered the cost of emergency transport in your BIA (Business Impact Analysis)? Do you have control on what your transport costs may be in your hour of need?
  • If you have a transport provision, has this been fully tested during test invocations?

This last point is crucial. The plan may include a proposed supplier for transport, i.e. an agreement with a local supplier, but it is important to know that they can be readily contacted and can react when required i.e. regardless of time of day and other commitments. If you need transport at 3pm, is your intended supplier busy with school pick-ups? 

If in doubt check it out. Nothing should be assumed. Call your supplier at a peak time (early morning or late evening) and find out whether they can deliver and definitely use them during your business continuity testing.