A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) is an effort within governmental departments and agencies to ensure that the Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) continue to be performed during a wide-range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, pandemics, and technological or attack-related emergencies.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a serious global threat. An increasing number of cases are being identified in the U.S. As the number of cases grow and more local governments, school districts, universities, and state agencies seek to protect workers, it is critical that a well-designed and functional COOP is in place. A comprehensive COOP should include a planning tool with defined processes and detailed information about how to effectively utilize a built-in pandemic module. This tool will identify mission essential functions and employees and establish a plan that allows employees to be functional at the office or remotely. Without a defined COOP, inefficiencies and crisis management becomes the focus as opposed to the mission critical services and activities that stakeholders need.
Here are the 7 key steps for a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP):
- Identify Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) (roles/responsibilities)
- Identify the staff that performs those PMEFs
- Rotate staff based on PMEFs or allow employees to work remotely if possible – making sure they have access to any vital records needed to perform their PMEFs
- Make sure staff has access to Key Staff contact information
- Make sure the Orders of Succession are updated and available to anyone who needs that information
- Make sure the Delegations of Authority are updated and available to anyone who needs that information
- Make sure that there is a named agency for Devolution (Devolution is the capability to transfer statutory authority and responsibility for essential functions from a company’s primary operating staff and facilities to another organization’s employees and facilities. Devolution planning supports overall Business Continuity planning and addresses catastrophic or other disasters that render a company’s leadership and staff unavailable or incapable of performing its essential functions from either its primary or alternate facilities. If devolution is necessary, prioritized essential functions are transferred to a pre-identified devolution organization.)
Be sure to check out the 7 mistakes to avoid in Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) here.