Critical Event and Business Continuity Policy

Responsibility for policy: Chief Operating Officer
Approving authority: Vice-Chancellor
Last reviewed: September 2020
Next review date: September 2023

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  1. This policy applies to all staff of the University of Waikato.


  1. The purpose of this policy is to:
    1. identify authorities for decision-making in response to a critical event, and
    2. ensure that business continuity plans are in place so that, in the event of a disaster or major interruption to operations, the University can meet its obligations with respect to:
      1. the welfare of the University's students, staff, visitors and stakeholders
      2. the protection of the University's assets, and
      3. the continuity of core business and, in turn, the safeguarding of the University's reputation.

Related documents

  1. The following documents set out further information relevant to this policy:


  1. In this policy:
    critical event means an event deemed to be critical by the Vice-Chancellor or delegated authority on the grounds that it has caused, or threatens to cause, serious harm to students, staff or visitors to the University and/or significant physical, environmental or reputational damage; a critical event may or may not be an emergency.

Authorities and responsibilities during a critical event

  1. Authority to make decisions and issue instructions during a critical event rests with the Vice-Chancellor or delegated authority.
  2. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for ensuring that effective emergency response plans, including identification of associated responsibilities, authorities and delegations, are in place within the University in readiness for implementation, if necessary, during a critical event.
  3. The Chief Operating Officer is also responsible for ensuring that all staff are appropriately informed and trained to be able to respond during a critical event.
  4. Staff identified under clause 6 of this policy must implement their responsibilities in accordance with the instructions of the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement.

Authorities and responsibilities for business continuity plans

  1. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the development and maintenance of a framework for University business continuity that demonstrates the University's potential in terms of readiness, response, recovery and restoration of services during or after a critical event.
  2. Pro Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Heads of School, Directors or equivalent and any other managers identified by the Chief Operating Officer for this purpose are required to develop, review, maintain, and test business continuity plans for their areas of responsibility and must do so in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Chief Operating Officer under clause 11 of this policy.
  3. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for ensuring:
    1. the provision of guidelines, training and support for relevant staff in the preparation and monitoring of business continuity plans, and
    2. that business continuity plans and practices across the University are maintained and monitored.

Responsibility for monitoring compliance

  1. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and reporting any breaches to the Vice-Chancellor.
  2. Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct.

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