What is Continuity of Operations
Continuity of Operations is the effort to ensure that Palm Beach County’s Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) continue to be performed during an emergency or event to including technological, natural , manmade and national security emergencies.
The goal of continuity is the continuation of National Essential Functions (NEFs). In order to achieve the goal, the objective for Palm Beach County is to identify the County’s Essential Functions (EFs) and ensure that those functions can be continued throughout or resumed rapidly after a disruption of normal activities.
The Palm Beach County Government has an important partnership with non- county government entities and with private sector owners and operators who plays an integral part in ensuring our homeland security.
Click here for the Palm Beach County COOP Template
Elements of Viable Continuity Capability
Elements of Viable Continuity Capability are the road map for implementing and managing the Continuity of Operations Program. The following outline is the overarching continuity requirements for Palm Beach County departments and agencies:
- Essential Functions – Critical activities performed by the departments after a disruption of normal operations. There are three (3) categories of essential functions:
- National Essential Functions
- Primary Mission Essential Functions
- Mission Essential Functions
- Orders of Succession – Assumption of senior agency offices during an emergency in the event that any of those officials are unavailable to execute their legal duties.
- Delegations of Authority – Identification, by position, of the authorities for making policy determinations and decisions at the executive, field levels, and all other organizational locations. Pre-determined delegation of authority will take effect when normal channels of direction have been disrupted and will lapse when these channels have been reestablished.
- Alternate Facilities – Locations, other than the primary facility, used to carry out essential functions, particularly in an emergency or disaster event. Alternate facilities refers to not only other locations, but can include nontraditional options such as working at home (teleworking), telecommuting, and mobile-office concepts.
- Continuity of Communications – Communications that provide the capability to perform essential functions, in conjunction with other County agencies, under all conditions.
- Vital Records Management – Identification, protection and ready availability of electronic and hard copy documents, references, records, information systems, data management software and equipment needed to support essential functions during a disaster event or situation.
- Human Capital – Emergency employees and other special categories of employees who are activated by the County to perform assigned response duties.
- Tests, Training, and Exercises (TT&E) – Measures to ensure that the COOP Plan is capable of supporting the continued execution of the County’s essential functions throughout the duration of a COOP event.
- Devolution of control and Direction – Capability to transfer statutory authority and responsibility for essential functions from a section or agency’s primary operating staff and facilities to another section or agency employees and facilities.
- Reconstitution – Process by which surviving and/or replacement personnel resume normal section or agency operations from the original or replacement primary operating facility.
Four Phases of Continuity of Operations Activation
- Phase I – Readiness and Preparedness
- Phase II – Activation and Relocation: Plans, procedures, and schedules to transfer activities, personnel, records, and equipment to alternate facilities are activated.
- Phase III – Continuity of Operations: Commencing of full execution of essential operations at alternate operating facilities.
- Phase IV – Reconstitution: Operations at alternate facility are terminated and normal operations resume.