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Updating a Continuity of Operations Plan

July 7, 2021

While recent continuity of operations planning has focused on the pandemic, courts must also be equipped for significant weather events now that the U.S. hurricane season is underway.

To help prepare for a predicted “above-normal” Atlantic hurricane season, NCSC has released the Courts Continuity Assessment Tool (C-CAT) to help identify gaps in court continuity programming.

Available as an interactive online self-assessment survey or for download as an Excel spreadsheet, the C-CAT builds on prior NCSC work that includes the NCSC Courts Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guide and Template and the NCSC Emergency Management Lessons Learned Focus Group Report. The C-CAT draws from these resources to provide a comprehensive assessment of nine key areas.

These areas include:

  1. Address Leadership Issues and Dedicate Staff
  2. Build and Strengthen Collaborative Relationships
  3. Identify Essential Functions
  4. Develop Redundant Communications
  5. Support the Needs of the Workforce
  6. Address Courthouse Infrastructure Needs and Alternate Facilities
  7. Address Information Technology (IT) Resilience
  8. Identify Reconstitution and Cost Recovery Processes
  9. Train and Exercise the Program

Many of the tool’s questions are based on FEMA’s Continuity Assessment Tool (CAT), and the interactive guidance is consistent with available FEMA continuity planning resources for non-federal entities. Following FEMA recommendations, courts should complete an assessment of their continuity program on a regular basis (e.g., annually).

How is your court addressing continuity of operations?  Follow the National Center for State Courts on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest and share your experiences!

For more information, contact Knowledge@ncsc.org or call 800-616-6164.