Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC)
Every day, individuals, organizations, communities, and governments provide critical services and perform essential functions upon which neighbors and citizens depend. Continuity ensures that the whole community has a plan for sustaining these services and functions when normal operations are disrupted. Implementation of continuity principles ensures that organizations, communities, and governments are able to support citizens in need.
National preparedness and sustainment of essential functions is a shared responsibility of the whole community. Continuity is not strictly a governmental responsibility, nor is it limited to a specific sector. Development and maintenance of continuity capabilities helps build and sustain a more resilient nation that is equipped to sustain essential functions and core capabilities and deliver critical services under all conditions.
The Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC) guides whole community efforts to develop and maintain the capability to ensure continuity of operations, continuity of government, and enduring constitutional government during an emergency that disrupts normal operations. The Circular describes federal and non-federal continuity efforts; outlines whole community continuity roles, responsibilities, and coordinating structures; and describes the process for building and maintaining capabilities to ensure the performance of essential functions and delivery of critical services and core capabilities.
Organizations and governments at all levels can draw upon the CGC as a reference when creating or revising continuity plans, programs, and processes. Many jurisdictions and organizations already have an existing continuity program and plan, and will use the Circular to refine capabilities and processes.
FEMA offers training, technical assistance, and outreach to assist organizations and governments develop and maintain a continuity plan and program and implement the concepts found within the CGC. The Continuity Resource Toolkit, found at www.fema.gov/continuity-resource-toolkit, contains these additional tools, templates, and resources.
Additional inquiries can be directed to FEMA-CGC@fema.dhs.gov.
Continuity Assessment Tool (CAT)
An important metric is measuring the ability of an organization to perform its essential functions and be operational in a continuity plan activation. Requirements and standards found in continuity regulations or policy can serve as continuity metrics. Tests and exercises serve as valuable tools for measuring progress against metrics. The Continuity Assessment Tool (CAT) provides a tool for agencies and communities to assess their continuity plan, program, and operations against the requirements for a viable continuity program and plan as outlined in the CGC. Within the CAT, there are three sections for evaluation, each of which correspond to the three chapters of the CGC: initiating planning, building a capability, and maintaining a capability. Each section includes continuity activities and supporting tasks critical to that chapter. These supporting tasks are further divided according to the five solution areas found within the State Preparedness Report: planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise (POETE). Through this format, an organization can identify its overall progress against the three steps of initiating, building, and maintaining a continuity capability, as well as identify its progress against the POETE elements. The CAT should be used on a regular (e.g. annual, multi-year) basis as a method for determining whether gaps exist in the agency’s continuity program and plan.
Continuity Plan Template and Instructions
This template provides instructions, guidance, and sample text for the development of continuity plans and programs in accordance with the Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC). The guidance in this template is designed for non-federal entities, and may be useful for all levels of state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations. This document is organized in a flexible format so that organizations may select all, or only certain sections of the template to develop or improve their plan. When using this template to assist in developing continuity plans and programs, organizations are encouraged to tailor the template to meet their specific continuity planning requirements. After using this template, jurisdictions and organizations may want to use the Continuity Assessment Tool (CAT) to evaluate their continuity plan and program.
Continuity Resource Toolkit
The Continuity Resource Toolkit is designed to provide additional tools, templates, and resources to assist in implementing the concepts found within the Continuity Guidance Circular. Each section of the Toolkit aligns to the chapters of the CGC. FEMA will continue to build and distribute tools and information to assist federal and non-federal entities develop and maintain a successful continuity program and plan.