Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning

Client: Transport For London (TFL)

A crowded underground train

This client has more than 60 buildings in Central London. These buildings, the internal equipment and the TFL staff they house are critical to the running of London. If the building housing the control centre for all of London's traffic lights goes down, London grinds to a halt. The same applies to the tube network, Oyster card payment systems etc. TFL buildings house command and control centres both for the city and national disaster management. The importance of these facilities cannot be overstated.

S2 began working with TFL as a result of our provision of Retained H&S Advisor Services and special project services to MITIE Engineering and MITIE Technical Facilities Management. MITIE's element of the overall operational risk was significant and critical. This brought us into working with TFL to the point where we became a key part of the main TFL team.

There had been a number of parties assigned to carrying out investigations and putting together Business Continuity Plans / Disaster Recovery Plans (BCP/DRP), leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games (3 years of work). As the Games approached, TFL and LOCOG began to examine the existing plans and felt they were not adequate. The main focus seemed to be too much on detail and the wider strategic perspective had not been adequately addressed. Poor communication was blamed. Systems2, already engaged in developing improvements to H&S, Quality Management and Training, both at TFL and MITIE, were asked if they could help. Time was extremely limited – there were 6 weeks to go to the Games. S2 put forward a pragmatic, planned proposal, which was immediately accepted, and we began work. We worked 7 days-a-week for 4 weeks, achieving all that was required a week ahead of the deadline. During the Games, everything ran like clockwork. We were told later that the systems we developed were distributed throughout all TFL and partner organisations. Subsequently these systems were adapted for many other departments and TFL contracting companies. We have already found ourselves since then, auditing our own BCP / DRP systems (adapted and re-badged) on other projects. Far from being an issue for claiming breach of copyright, this gives us a huge sense of satisfaction.

The experience we gained on such a successful, critical and prestigious project as the London 2012 Olympic Games, has already proved extremely useful. We have been able to turn what we learned there, to the benefit of other key clients. It is a perfect example of how a small company like ours can have such a major impact via the work we do for national and international organisations.