Contingency and Succession Planning
Because your work and the resulting data are vital to the smooth running of exams throughout the academic year, you need to have plans in place to protect against systems failure.
Your contingency plan should set about reducing the risk of disruption in the first instance, and ensure normal services can be resumed should a serious incident occur.
You should also prepare a succession plan that will allow another person to step in if you are unavailable.
- Prepare a ‘disaster recovery plan’ in case of systems failure that will get the exams office functioning again as soon as possible.
- Nominate, with their agreement, a member of your exam team capable enough to provide backup if and when you are unavailable.
- Keep paperwork, calendars and flow charts up to date.
- Collate all contact details of awarding bodies, special educational needs departments and of integral personnel such as invigilators. Make sure the information is easily accessible.
- Plan and budget for a handover period with your line manager if you are leaving the job permanently.
- Consider preparing a brief handbook on how to do the job and what processes you have set in place.
Refer to the Exams Office Good Practice Guide, Part One: The Exam Cycle. Include:
- how qualifications are structured and assessed
- how to deal with awarding bodies and meet deadlines
- how entries are made
- how penalties for late entry amendments or withdrawal are administered
- how arrangements for access, transferred candidates and late arrivals are processed
- how exam integrity is maintained
- how results are generated, issued and validated
- how the results enquiries and appeals procedure works
- how update information is promptly despatched to all essential staff and candidates.
Notify your line manager that you have set contingency plans in place should you be unavailable at any stage of the exam cycle.
At a glance
In your absence, make sure a deputy or colleague knows what you do, how to do it, where to find essential information and how to action it.