Charan Sarai - Practice Manager Adviser

Have you made contingency planning a priority for 2016?

At the beginning of every year we make our resolutions, deciding what we are going to do that’s new and what we could do better, what we’re going to stop doing and how to make more ME time. This year, you should make contingency planning a work priority.

Why should I have a contingency plan?

A good contingency plan will help build a healthier work life, give you more freedom to take that all important time off work without having to stress about coming back to a week’s worth of work and the knowledge that the practice can carry on as usual should you be off for a period of time or leave for new pastures.

As I have been travelling up and down the country meeting some very experienced managers, I have often had the following sentence quoted to me, “If I go under a bus, I don’t know what the partners will do...”

You and I both know that no one is indispensible, but wouldn’t we have a healthier balanced work life if we were actively growing a second in charge. Our businesses would be more secure and we would be happier managers.

 When we talk about business contingency, we often think on a bigger scale. A Business Contingency Plan (BCP) is an essential part of any organisation’s response planning; it sets out how the business will operate following an incident and how it expects to return to ‘business as usual’ in the quickest possible time afterwards.

What should I consider?

Many managers really worry about how to get things done in time and how the practice would function if they were not there. This is not the way forward for a modern business and we thought the following may help you with taking some proactive steps into this New Year.

Have you thought about the following?

  • Cross-training of skills amongst the workforce.
  • Contingency arrangements for critical operations like financial transactions.
  • Which roles and individuals are vital for fulfilling business commitments?
  • Are the appropriate staff able to access any business critical codes?
  • Documenting procedures, so that delegated staff can perform unfamiliar tasks. 

One of the checklists for CQC is business continuity and succession planning; the practice should have a BCP and succession plan that sets out the aims and objectives, demonstrating ‘leadership’.  The plan should refer to arrangements in place to keep the practice running.

 I believe that practices should also demonstrate that they have the required back up for managers.

We heard about the over the floods that have hit parts of the country over the Christmas and New Year break, but a BCP need not be specific to such incidents. Your plan can also apply to any major disruption such as a major fire, power fault or a business manager failing to turn into work or taking leave for a long period time.

Make it a priority this year

 Do you really want to avoid taking holidays because there is no one in the work place that can cover at least some of your work while you’re away?  Do you really want to have to revolve those holidays around month end because you have no one to cover salaries and pension administration? 

Make it your priority in 2016 to have a second in charge (or several) who can fulfil any of the tasks you need to complete to keep the practice going and allocate at least one day in the month to sit down and go through at least one area of the training plan. Finally, for your wellbeing, don’t forget to take your annual leave.

If you would like more support with your practice’s business strategy, consider First Practice Management (FPM) Group’s Management Consultancy Service.

Alternatively, members can access our Continuity Planning/Disaster Recovery Toolkit.

 

© First Practice Management, 2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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