Well-rehearsed plans and a fully-equipped recovery facility enabled people to do their jobs
Tannoy messages were broadcast to tell occupants what was going on and staff were prevented from leaving. Members of the security team then visited each floor in person to brief staff.
Their attention then turned to the safety of those employees who had left the offices prior to the attack and may have been in the vicinity, vulnerable to danger. News UK’s emergency notification system was used to send targeted welfare messages to the individuals concerned, asking each to confirm their safety. Automated follow-up messages were sent every 15 minutes to those who had not replied. By 1.45am there were only 13 responses outstanding, which were then escalated to the crisis management team and followed up manually. Fortunately, all staff were eventually confirmed safe.
Even before police confirmed that the incident was terror related, it was quickly apparent to Rob Sowerby and Jonathon Cormack that, “Sunday wasn’t going to be a normal day. Thinking ahead, we thought it likely the police cordon would remain in pace for some time and we would not be able to come and go from our offices as we pleased.”
Around 1am — half an hour after the police had formally declared the event a terror incident — the pair made the decision to invoke their Workplace Recovery contract with Sungard AS. Sungard AS swung into action to get the recovery centre set-up to News UK’s predefined specification, ready to receive journalists, sub-editors and editors; designers and publishing services; and members of the commercial team due to work on Monday editions well before the start of the Sunday morning shift at 6.45am.
However, it transpired that News UK’s designated recovery site would be within the police cordon so it could not be used. This was not a problem as Sungard AS’ rollback capability — designed for wide area incidents like this — enables customers to recover to the next available facility, which was just over half a mile away and was already factored into News UK’s incident management planning.
All Sungard AS’ recovery sites have a standardised specification — as it points out, “All that changes is the view from the window” - so lack of familiarity with the facility was not a major issue. Jonathon Cormack recalls, “The Sungard AS team was very helpful and responsive at a time when we were stressed and under pressure.”
The Sungard AS team was very helpful and responsive at a time when we were stressed and under pressure.
Business Resilience Manager, News UK