Small business resilience – a forgotten victim?

On the 7th August 2013, a major water main pipe burst, discharging millions of litres of clean water and causing substantial flooding on and around Half Moon Lane, near Herne Hill station in South London (SE24). The area itself is geographically a small basin, with the area predominantly habited by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES’s), the majority of which are independently owned.

As a dedicated civil contingency professional, Foresight Solutions were acutely aware of the contribution of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) resilience to community recovery, a point that is exemplified by the inclusion of the provision of business continuity advice by local authorities under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

However, there appears to be little research into how this specific community has been affected by a wide area emergency, such as a flood, and how they have coped. Indeed, it is unclear whether SME’s in general put into place any resilience measures before such an emergency occurred, whether they were successful, and whether there was a change in approach and attitude towards resilience as a result of their experiences.

Foresight Solutions was keen to return a year later to Herne Hill to track the progress of SME recovery, to answer these questions, and to record the issues they faced following this devastating event.

To this end, we commissioned a programme of detailed research to capture these issues and to provide the resilience community with practical account of their experiences to assist in broader recovery planning and knowledge.

Our report aims to support this aim, and may be freely used by anyone interested in this subject. Naturally, we ask that the report and its author be appropriately referenced if its content is cited.

Posted in News.