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  • Justin Cuckow

Time to reconsider certification?


This week is business continuity awareness week with lots of resources being made available through the Business Continuity Institute to support the theme “Business Continuity starts with you”. There has been some excellent discussion and sharing of good practice around driving awareness and embedding ownership.


Times of crisis typically see an upsurge in adoption of resilience standards. That upsurge is currently being driven both by COVID and by organisations transitioning their accreditations to the new version of the Business Continuity Management System standard ISO22301:2019. However, interestingly, there is relatively limited discussion on the use of certification as a mechanism to drive business continuity awareness and embedding within organisations.


The most common push backs from senior management around certification are around cost, typically in management overhead and system maintenance. Whilst often raised as an example of potential benefits, in reality there is little evidence that certification does drive down insurance costs and insurers have not done much to reward the investment in improved risk mitigation via business continuity. For the University sector where I do a lot of work, insurance is typically procured via purchasing consortia, so understandably insurers are balancing their exposure. However in terms of being value for money, certification really does make sense as it ensures that people up their game and stay on top of the agenda.


I’ve been supporting a 5 day recertification audit all of this week, and have spent a couple of months supporting a client to bring all aspects of their management system up to date and prepare for transition. It has been interesting to see in the audit meetings quite how seriously auditees have taken preparation, how they have deeply reflected on their practice and of course how they have all ensured arrangements (Plans, training, exercising etc) are up to date. Having successfully transitioned to the new version of the standard, the audit has been a really positive process for those involved having elicited lots of positive feedback from staff about the value of contingency planning and the benefits that it has brought the organisation. It is also worth remembering that generous praise from the top of the organisation following external review fosters commitment and a huge sense of pride in a job well done.


Many organisations are rightly reviewing their resilience arrangements at the moment. When weighing up bringing in additional staff member versus the cost of certification, the certification process is undoubtedly cheaper than an additional body on payroll with on costs. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the value of certification.

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of certification in more detail or need support in gaining accreditation or in transitioning to the new version of the standard ISO 22301:2019 please get in touch.




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