CMI survey reveals lack of pandemic planning despite managers rating pandemic as 2nd largest risk

CMI business continuity management survey reveals that despite the fact that business managers consider pandemic influenza to be one the most serious risks to business, few are carrying out adequate pandemic planning
By: Isobel Nicholas
April 21, 2009 - PRLog -- A survey carried out by the Chartered Management Institute has revealed that 53% of small businesses have not carried out any pandemic planning, despite the fact that the impact of pandemic influenza was rated as the second largest risk to business by managers. Participants in the CMI business continuity management survey rated the risk of a pandemic flu outbreak as second only to electronic attack, with 57% stating that it was of particular concern. With medical opinion united in the expectation of a pandemic outbreak, Steelhenge is poised to offer businesses expert help in pandemic planning. For more information, visit or call +44 (0) 1722 345 470.

The last global pandemic occurred in 1968 and was the third global influenza pandemic of the twentieth century. Due to the cyclic nature of pandemic influenza, the World Health Authority believes that the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since the last epidemic. On the WHO scale of pandemic threat phases, with 6 indicating a full pandemic epidemic, the world is currently at phase 3. This indicates that a new influenza virus subtype is already causing the disease in humans, but not yet with the efficient and sustained transmission seen at phase 6. "Both WHO and other medical experts believe it is simply a matter of time before phase 6 is declared," commented Isobel Nicholas, director of Steelhenge Consulting Ltd, "hence the pertinence of the CMI findings."  

In the face of inevitability, Isobel was asked what businesses can do to mitigate the effects of a global pandemic. "Planning is everything," she replied. "Unlike rapid onset disasters with a Pandemic there is an element of forewarning. Whilst we can't predict exactly how the next Pandemic will unfold, we know many of the likely impacts and issues that we will be faced with. If we plan for a worst case scenario, logically we should be prepared for anything better. If, as widely anticipated, the next pandemic starts in the East then the UK and other Western countries will also have a limited amount of time to initiate their response as the Pandemic circumnavigates the globe. Whether this is days or weeks is difficult to know.  Basic steps taken now, can greatly minimise the impact on a business. This year, pandemic planning is more important than ever, due to the economic downturn," Isobel added. "Many businesses that are struggling already may not survive the added complications that a pandemic would bring in terms of staff absenteeism, supply chain difficulties, transport network disruption and potential interruptions to utility supplies. However, if a business acts now to prepare for a pandemic, they will not only be more likely to get through the crisis intact, but also will be more resilient as a result."

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About Steelhenge
Steelhenge Consulting provides end to end business continuity, crisis management and emergency planning services to a broad range of corporate clients internationally, as well as to UK Government Departments, local authorities, the European Commission and NGOs. Steelhenge also delivers specialist services in energy resilience, & utility resilience and pandemic planning. Steelhenge has particular expertise in the preparation of people to perform effectively in implementing business continuity plans, and crisis plans and in communicating both internally and externally with stakeholders during crisis.

Established in 2004, with offices in London and Salisbury, Steelhenge is the UK's leader in the delivery of bespoke training and exercises for staff at all levels from the strategic through the tactical to the operational. Steelhenge's consultants have been recruited from a broad range of sectors in order to create a depth of expertise across the resilience landscape.

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