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Developing Peer to Peer Networks for Business Continuity Planning

Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) is partnering with Industry and the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors to support business continuity planning through local area networks.

CSIA is partnering with Regional Social Development Coalition (RSDC) in Mackay and Community Projects Assistance Service Qld (CPASQ) in the Somerset region to identify how business continuity planning can be enhanced across Industry through two peer to peer demonstration projects.

This builds on the work CSIA has been delivering with Industry since 2017 around business continuity. The next phase is about the networks in the community that organisations may have or need to have in place to be ready for when disaster strikes.

Continuity Planning in Housing and Homelessness in Mackay

RSDC is working with the Whitsunday, Isaac and Mackay Housing and Homelessness Action Network (WIMHHAN) to strengthen local area networks when it comes to business continuity planning.

When Cyclone Debbie hit the region in 2017, gaps were identified in disaster management in the homelessness and housing sector.

As buildings were swiftly evacuated and clients of housing and homelessness services transported to the Cyclone Shelter, it became apparent clients did not have the required support, supervision or medication needed. Furthermore, road closures resulted in staff being unavailable to care for vulnerable homeless young people.

Many of the housing and homelessness services in the region are small, locally managed non-profit organisations. And while they do have business continuity planning in place the sharing of resources and knowledge will only serve to strengthen capacity and resilience when unexpected events occur.  

RSDC and member organisations of WIMHHAN will collaboratively interrogate current business continuity planning and build a more structured community of support in preparation for disaster season.

Partnering for Resilience in Somerset

Even if you have a partnered approach to service delivery, this may not be reflected in your business continuity planning.

CPASQ is working with Brisbane Valley Meals on Wheels (MOW) and other local community groups and organisations in the Somerset region to strengthen connections in their disaster management plans.

MOW provides fresh nutritious meals for people whose disabilities make it difficult to shop and cook. Most clients are elderly, living alone and socially isolated.

Like most small rural MOW services, Brisbane Valley MOW relies on local contracted commercial kitchens to provide the meals they deliver to clients throughout their service area.

It took the 2011 floods in Esk to realise that the disaster management plan for the local Meals on Wheels service did not contain a strategy for business continuity in the event of a disruption to the supply of meals.

CPASQ is testing a process of creating a peer to peer network of community groups and organisations to undertake collaborative business continuity planning. This aims to prevent future disruption to meal services and strengthen connections with wider local disaster management plans already in place.

Participants will work together to develop an alternative temporary ‘pop-up’ system of meal provision that involves a source of food provisions, volunteers specially trained in safe food preparation, and the use of licensed commercial kitchens owned by local not-for-profit associations and clubs. Alignment with local Industry and Government disaster management and recovery plans is an essential component of the system.

On success, the resulting peer to peer collaborative business continuity strategy will be available for roll out to neighbouring rural Meals on Wheels services within Somerset Region and beyond.  

Developing a Peer to Peer Network

Even if you have a business continuity plan in place, how do you know it will hold up when disaster strikes?

When it comes to business continuity planning working collaboratively within your own local area and evaluating your plan regularly is critical to resilience during unpredictable circumstances.

CSIA Industry Development Manager Beth Dwine and process designer Jan Ungerer will be facilitating a series of workshops to explore ways to strengthen the vital role that your organisation plays in building resilience, responding to crisis and supporting recovery.

Work with your local disaster management group and Industry in Toowoomba, Gold Coast and Hervey Bay to develop a leadership structure for resilience in your local area.

Stay up to date with the progress of the peer to peer demonstration projects by signing up to Ignite enews.

 

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