All departments and agencies are fully engaged in the Government's business continuity programme, which includes public, private and voluntary sector organisations.
Following the World Health Organisation's announcement of WHO phase 6, the Government produced supplementary human resources guidance reiterating reasonable worst-case planning assumptions to aid business continuity preparations for use by all government departments and agencies.
In particular, departments employing large numbers of people, with flexibility of staff redeployment, are planning for cumulative staff absence rates of up to 15 per cent over a two to three-week period. Smaller departments, or larger organisations with small critical teams, are planning for a level of absence rising to 30 to 35 per cent.
Departments and agencies are keeping staff up to date on the current situation and continue to promote good personal hygiene, reminding individuals to stay away from work if they are unwell. There is no presumption that departments and agencies would close as a result of swine flu, but effective business continuity management will help to ensure the continuity of critical functions in the event of any disruption and effective recovery afterwards.