Ian Charters- Admitted to the BCI as member number 160

  • 06 Mar 2019
  • Ian

In 1993 I was working for a small IT FM company which dabbled in DR – a service we were meant to offer to potential clients. The computer manager of an oil refinery wanted to know whether he need a DR service and I found I was able to give him a reasoned answer (no) after a few days talking to managers in the plant about the urgency of the various activities they were responsible for. Excited by my new technique I then discovered that others had already invented the Business Impact Analysis – and Business Continuity.

In 1996 I left employment to set up my own company to pursue Business Continuity opportunities further and joined the BCI as Affiliate No.160 gaining membership in April 1997 and Fellowship in 2004.   

In the early days there was still a close connection between the BCI and Survive – a training organisation from which the BCI had developed. I began delivering training for Survive in about 2000, ironically (for those who know my views on the subject) a course on Risk Analysis.  Those of that era will remember ‘Brite Colours Ltd’ which was the case study used in many of Survive courses.  Reflecting the BC concerns of the time, the courses were much concerned with the details of the IT personnel and computer infrastructure, rather than the issues of, supply chain, manufacturing and distributing volatile liquids. 

I joined the BCI Board in 2001 shortly before the departure of John Sharp as CEO.  I remember a particularly difficult Board meeting at which the future of the BCI was at stake and being asked to chair it - a role I had never done before (or since). After the meeting we adjourned to the nearby pub with Steve Mellish and others. I recall drinking far more than I usually do but vowing that we would ensure the BCI continued despite the difficulties.  For a short while the Board ran the BCI directly then appointed Lorraine at which point the BCI started to grow rapidly.

The first GPG was published in 2002.  As Chair of the BCI’s Education committee I was asked to issue a new version but the BCI ran into an unexpected copyright dispute and the involvement of legal opinions and threatened legal actions.  It was resolved by a complete (and beneficial) rewrite of the entire text - the structure of which can still be seen in today’s GPG. I continued to edit the document for several editions before the BCI Office was able to take on this role.

I remember attending the first BCI Symposium in Brussels in 2004. Paul Patterson and I spent several hours in the Channel Tunnel – in a broken-down train and then standing in the service tunnel before being rescued by another train. Arriving with no luggage and no razor, my appearance at the conference was somewhat casual but their poor business continuity planning was a good talking point.

I have hugely enjoyed the opportunity that BCM has given me to travel across the world to visit interesting places and to meet BCI members at conferences, training and socially; in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, China and Singapore and also for working meetings of the ISO committee TC292 in South Africa, Australia and the US.  I could never have guessed 25 years ago where that conversation on Teesside, UK would lead! 

More on
About the author

Ian Charters

Director, Continuity Systems Ltd

Over 20 years in BC as trainer and consultant. Worked in a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors. Specialist (and published author) in Business Impact Analysis.