Client Story

National Crime Agency

Enabling an agency with a non-stop role to carry on through crisis

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is carrying on with its vital work to combat serious and organised crime, from financial fraud to tackling child sexual abuse, despite the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s after we helped them plan for how to cope in exactly this kind of crisis.

Key successes

  • Trained a 20-strong team who became local leaders in business continuity and spearheading teams’ response to emergencies
  • Set an ambitious target to achieve the highest levels of business continuity by certifying against the international gold standard - ISO 22301

An agency with a non-stop role

The NCA leads the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime like financial crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking and child exploitation. It operates round the clock. So it’s essential it can carry on functioning in an emergency, whether it’s a cyber-attack or IT crash, a fire or a pandemic like COVID-19. Also, partners like the police, government and international agencies must know they can count on the NCA in emergencies.

Several years of growth and restructuring left the agency needing a more formal approach to business continuity, and clear recovery plans that everyone understood across 130 teams.

Planning for a crisis

Our business resilience experts looked at the NCA’s threats, and its priorities if an emergency did strike. Then we came up with a plan to put business continuity at the forefront of people’s minds, and clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities in a crisis, from the board down. The process included simulations to test how the agency reacts to unfolding crises like a no-deal Brexit.

A board-level ‘sponsor’ ensures that business continuity is visibly led by senior management while two new full-time officers keep a complex system of business continuity plans up to date whilst also making sure everyone follows it through a process of checks and reviews. We’ve also trained a team of ‘business continuity leads’, who now have business continuity responsibilities as part of their role. They know individual teams’ plans in detail and make sure they stick to them in an emergency.

It’s very important for us that everyone from the public to our stakeholders is totally confident in what we do. PA’s expertise and the thoroughness with which they approached the job means we pass that test when it comes to being prepared for a crisis. Their vision and ambition also gave us confidence in ourselves to go for the best we could and aim for international certification.”
NCA Deputy Director NTAC and Executive sponsor for Business Continuity

A certified success

The system shows how the NCA’s most essential operations can carry on working in a crisis, from officers investigating drug smuggling rings and following up reports of online child sex abuse to response to investigating fraud and money laundering. Officers know where they need to be and risks are minimised for those who still have to go to offices.

We encouraged the agency to aim high and get ISO accreditation for the system, which after an 18-month journey and a rigorous assessment period, they were able to achieve.

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