Parliament holds successful business continuity exercise

The temporary chamber.
21 December 2017

Parliamentary authorities successfully test contingency plans in the event of a fire, flood or other emergency

An alternative chamber was re-created to test how well parliamentary business could continue in the event that one or both chambers in the Palace of Westminster could not be used.

In the event of fire, flood or other emergency, Parliament has plans to relocate its core functions close to the Parliamentary Estate and Government Departments, in order to carry on Parliamentary business. The basic version of the plan enables the relocation and continuity of Parliamentary business for an initial period of up to ten weeks.

Black Rod, responsible for business resilience and continuity planning, said:

“Parliament has today successfully completed an exercise to road test its business continuity plans. We have been re-developing plans for a short notice forced relocation of a chamber, together with essential supporting facilities and staff, to a number of venues, including venues local to the Palace of Westminster.”

“These plans were tested today and I’m pleased to say that the exercise was successfully completed, and I’d like to give huge thanks to everyone involved for their contributions and excellent support – an extra burden on staff at an already busy time, much appreciated. Exercises like today’s will ensure that Parliament can maintain critical parliamentary business and activities in the event of any such disruption.”

Carlos Bamford, Managing Director of InHouse Services in the House of Commons, added:

“Today’s exercise was the culmination of a huge effort on the part of staff from across Parliament.

The fact that we have successfully completed the exercise today is testament to the hard work and professionalism of all those involved, and it means Parliament is in a much better place for its readiness to respond to emergencies in the future.”

This exercise is not related to plans for the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace, and the temporary chamber constructed for this purpose will now be dismantled.

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