Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Business Continuity Planning

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Public Policy

DESCRIPTION Business Continuity Planning seeds a new philosophy in the policy leader. Crisis need not only be managed, drawing from the traditional management approaches on resource allocation, rational decision making and effective control. Crisis needs to be averted and only through systematic planning that gauges (and measures if possible) risk could operations effectively keep running without jeopardizing a system. Public organizations are not immune and the thinking needs to be set in place.

The study-unit explores both theory and practice of risk and crisis management from an organizational and public policy/management perspective. It is aimed at the policy student who wishes to engage with the complexities of risk and crisis. The ECTS value of the subject does not allow a comprehensive coverage, but through a mixed approach (academia and practitioners), students are stimulated to think how their work environments are exposed to risk, and what procedures can be adopted to mitigate the impact of a crisis.

Crisis vary in nature and extent. Some are localized disruptions that can be contained, whilst others can develop into full blown disasters. In an interconnected world, work systems need to be protected systematically to avoid service interruption. The goal is to develop a new approach towards risk, compile measures how to reduce it, and provide supporting structures to deal with it. Identifying, evaluating, addressing and monitoring are now essential components to ensure business continuity.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are to enhance the management and leadership toolkit of the policy analyst by developing a deeper appreciation of what hinders or enables business planning in the public sector. Students will therefore:
- Obtain insights as better decision-makers by placing any work practice under the risk and contingency lens;
- Develop a deeper understanding of the risk environment (local and global) for public organizations, and be able to devise appropriate measures;
- Learned the limitations of conventional approaches to managing risk, resilience and security;
- Integrate organisational responses to risk and crisis across functions to achieve resilience;
- Acquire confidence in applying tailored techniques to ensure business continuity.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Study the main theories influencing the development of corporate governance;
- Understand the risk management process, and how it fits into the corporate governance of a public organization;
- Study the crisis management cycle and the main stages in the pre-crisis contingency planning process;
- Integrating the risk factor as part of policy design or policy reform;
- Conduct business impact analysis and devise response strategies to crisis.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Make a risk assessment by identifying and evaluating potential sources of risk;
- Provide advice on risk management to audit committees and executive management;
- Develop critical thinking through situation assessment and link continuity measures to the decision-making strategy.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:

- Drennan, L.T. and McConnell, A. (2007), Risk and Crisis Management in the Public Sector, Routledge.

Supplementary Readings:

- Lawlor, T. (2002), "Public Sector Risk Management: A specific model", Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 29(6), 443-460.
- Mihaila, C. (2012), "Operative methods for crisis management in public organizations", Manager, 15, 7-13.
- Smith, D. and Toft, B. (1998), Editorial: "Issues in Public Sector Risk Management", Public Money & Management, 18(4), 7-10.
- Whyte, D. (1998), "Risk and Crisis Management in the Public Sector: Overcoming the Fear Factor: Workforce Involvement and Health and Safety Offshore", Public Money & Management, 18(4), 33-40.

Documents available on the web:

- Australian National Audit Office, (2009), Business Continuity Management: Building resilience in public sector entities - Better practice Guide.
- Fone, M and Young, P.C. (2000), Public Sector Risk Management, Butterworth-Heinemann.
- Her Majesty's Government, Business Continuity Management Toolkit.
- Osborne, S.P. (2011), Innovation in Public Services: Engaging with Risk, Boletín del Centro de Investigación de Economía y Sociedad (CIES), No. 90.
- Putra, F. (2009), Crisis Management in Public Administration, Planning Forum, Vol 13/14, pp. 162 - 176.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 30%
Case Study (Take Home) SEM2 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Gonzi Rebecca Dalli
Simon Grima (Co-ord.)
Stefan Lia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.