The City of Edinburgh Council has become the first urban local authority in the UK to gain a quality standard for its emergency preparation.

The ‘business continuity management’ accreditation, awarded by the British Standards Institute, recognises the Council’s efforts to ensure it can continue to maintain its critical services during an incident or emergency affecting the Council.

The Council underwent a rigorous audit of the continuity processes and resources it has in place to keep its essential services running earlier this year, following two years’ intensive work to prepare the organisation for threats to its business continuity.

Councillor Jenny Dawe, Council Leader, said: “We provide a huge range of vital services to the people and businesses of Edinburgh, so it’s incredibly important that we take steps to maintain ‘business as normal’ despite events beyond our control. Inevitably, situations occur that disrupt life in the city, but the preparations we have taken will minimise that and provide reassurance that we are able to provide the most essential services.”

The Council’s actions have included training, emergency exercises and creating ‘battle boxes’ of key equipment in case staff have to relocate. It has also put in place back-up arrangements for information sharing, IT and essential supplies.

More information on the standard (BS2599) is available from the British Standards Institute. The Council also urges other organisations to follow business continuity advice to ensure that they have their own plans in place.