Continuity of Operations
Simply put, Continuity of Operations (COOP) means maintaining business operations following an emergency. Therefore, COOP comprises all of the efforts in planning, training testing and maintenance of plans and procedures to ensure an entity can continue essential business functions. The Department of General Services maintains their COOP Program under the Deputate of Property & Asset Management. This Program has developed a COOP Plan to address the most viable elements of a COOP capability, per FEMA guidance.
Those elements are:
• Essential Functions
• Delegations of Authority
• Orders of Succession
• Alternate Facilities
• Interoperable Communications
• Vital Records
• Tests, training and exercises
• Human capital
The COOP Program Office also works with PEMA, the Governor’s Office of Administration and other Agencies in all-hazards planning. Some current planning includes: Capitol Complex Emergency Evacuation Plan, Agency and Commonwealth Pandemic Mitigation and Response Planning, National Incident Management System (NIMS) Implementation and Commonwealth-wide Continuity of Government (CoG) coordination.
Continuity of Government (CoG) is charged to the Governor’s Office of Administration in coordinating the COOP efforts of all Agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction to ensure the government can continue to provide essential functions during an emergency. In an informal manner, the DGS COOP program reports to the OA CoG Office, along with the COOP Programs of all other Agencies.
If you are a commonwealth employee and have appropriate access, you can access key COOP documents on the DGS Collaboration Portal. Select the Continuity of Operations Project.
The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting its citizens during emergencies and disasters. Traditional planning efforts were focused on natural or manmade disasters like floods, blizzards, fires and nuclear power accidents. However, September 11th and subsequent events have made it painfully clear that we must prepare for additional and more insidious threats to willfully disrupt, disable and destroy public confidence, infrastructure and institutions.
Analysis of existing emergency preparedness schemes revealed that the effects of any disaster, natural or manmade, have the capacity to cripple the State’s ability to provide essential functions under emergency conditions. As a result, renewed emphasis has been placed on developing continuity of government plans to preserve, maintain and reconstitute critical business functions and instill those concepts in employees and every day business processes.
On August 29, 2003, Governor Edward G. Rendell, in a letter to all agency heads, made business continuity planning a top priority for all Commonwealth agencies. He delegated to the Office of Administration the responsibility to oversee the creation of agency Continuity of Government (CoG) plans and charged the Deputy Secretary for Administration of each agency with the responsibility of ensuring that an effective CoG plan is created for their agencies.
Between 2004 and 2006, many individuals within DGS worked successfully as a COOP Team to develop a COOP Plan specific to DGS. The amount of effort required to develop, train, test and maintain the plan was taxing on those individuals, as they were required to provide the same level of service in their regular DGS function. In July 2006, DGS became the first Commonwealth Agency to hire a full-time COOP Program Coordinator. The COOP Coordinator works with PEMA, OA and other Agencies to develop a variety of all-hazard plans.
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