New contingency & continuity planning software will help make London a safer city
City of London Corporation, which provides local government services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the ‘Square Mile’, has implemented new contingency and continuity planning software at its Emergency Planning Department in London.
The implementation of the new Alert Cascade software is a critical step towards a safer London. City of London’s Contingency Planning Group is a city-wide initiative whose current objectives include assisting people and businesses to deal with a range of incidents, including pandemics, natural disasters, terrorism, anti-social behaviour and crimes against people. The unit is located within the Security and Contingency Planning Group of the City of London.
The new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and will initially be used to manage and control the City of London Corporation’s response to major incidents or any disruption within the Square Mile, such as pandemics, rail accidents, floods and power outages.
Stewart Thomas, head of the Emergency Planning Department at City of London Corporation commented: “Our previous emergency planning system was paper-based so we needed to find a software application that would automate our processes and assist us in logging all the critical information relating to a major incident, including when and where incidents occur and actions that were taken.”
Initially, four to six City of London staff are being trained to use the software, although according to Stewart, “more people may be brought in to use the software if or when a major incident occurs”. As well as emergency planning, Stewart explained that the software would also be used for a range of other planning and response functions.
As Stewart pointed out: “If there was a major flood incident for example, we may use the software to contact the relevant individuals within our organisation who are responsible for ordering sandbags and other flood-prevention equipment from local suppliers. Alerting and tasking the appropriate person from within our organisation is a key feature of the software.”
Alert Cascade, a UK-based provider of contingency and continuity SaaS and disaster recovery (DR) communication solutions, implemented their solution at the City of London Safer City Partnership and is also providing full training and support services. The Alert Cascade platform is an easy-to-use application that is based upon a standard methodology for business continuity and disruption management. The software provides a secure, resilient framework and communications infrastructure to enable companies to notify, mobilise and execute contingency plans and to work effectively as a team. Team members have access to the most critical crisis or incident management functions.
Stewart continues: “The software will speed up our response to emergencies and make our processes more reliable. Alert Cascade cannot be tampered with in any way and so for post-event auditing and evaluation purposes, the software provides crucial evidence for any judicial enquiries. All the incident-related information is there on record, logged by the software.”
“Compared to some of the other emergency planning systems that we evaluated, we considered Alert Cascade to be the easiest to understand, implement and use. The software has a very logical flow to it and this means that we have no concerns about rolling the system out to more users in the future or of training people who may not use the system very often.”
More than 200 clients worldwide are now using Alert Cascade to protect their business, including bmi, Bosch, Dunn & Bradstreet, Nissan, Norwich Union, Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, Siemens and Volvo.
About Alert Cascade Limited:
Alert Cascade company specialises in a suite of software communication and collaboration solutions for Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Crisis Communications, Operations Management and Control Room environment. Natural disaster, emergency incident, IT systems failure, product recall, the impact of terrorist or criminal activity, damage to reputation or brand-name; a crisis means different things to different people; what is common however, is the need to react and manage your way back to normality as quickly as possible. Many leading international and UK based public and private sector organisations trust Alert Cascade to provide them with ‘high availability’ secure applications that reduce the time between knowing about a mission critical situation and doing something about it. Alert Cascade delivers contingency and continuity solutions that have been used successfully in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami disaster, during the 7/7 London bombings and for response, collaboration and recovery from factory fires, power failures, severe weather, IT-disasters, supply chain issues and numerous other incidents across the globe.
About City Of London Corporation:
The City of London provides local government services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the ‘Square Mile’. It is committed to maintaining and enhancing the status of the business City as the world’s leading international financial and business centre through the policies it pursues and the high standard of services it provides. Its responsibilities extend far beyond the City boundaries in that it also provides a host of additional facilities for the benefit of the nation. These range from open spaces such as Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath to the famous Barbican Arts Centre.
The City of London combines its ancient traditions and ceremonial functions with the role of a modern and efficient local authority, looking after the needs of its residents, businesses and over 320,000 people who come to work in the ‘Square Mile’ every day. Among local authorities the City of London is unique; not only is it the oldest in the country but it operates on a non-party political basis through its Lord Mayor, Aldermen and members of the Court of Common Council.
In addition to the usual services provided by a local authority such as housing, refuse collection, education, social services, environmental health and town planning, the City of London performs a number of very special functions. It runs its own police force and the nation’s Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. It provides five Thames bridges, runs the quarantine station at Heathrow Airport and is the Port Health Authority for the whole of the Thames tidal estuary. Three premier wholesale food markets (Billingsgate, Spitalfields and Smithfield) which supply London and the South East with fresh produce, also belong to the City of London. Many of these services are funded from the City of London’s own investments at no cost to the public.
The City of London is committed to an extensive programme of activities designed to assist its neighbours to combat social deprivation so that they can benefit from the wealth the ‘Square Mile’ generates. Staff and members of the City of London have, through centuries of careful stewardship, ensured that the ‘Square Mile’ has continued to thrive. Today’s City of London, through its philosophy of sustainable development, aims to share these benefits with future generations of residents, businesses and workers.
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