University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Ensuring Business, Academic, and Research Continuity (BARC)

(Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice President by authority of Executive Order No. 4, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities by authority of Administrative Order No. 9, and the Vice President for UW Information Technology and Chief Information Officer by authority of Executive Order No. 63)

1.  Policy

Business, Academic, and Research Continuity (BARC) is defined as ensuring the continuity or uninterrupted provision of operations and services for administrative, academic, and research departments of the University. BARC is an ongoing process with several different but complementary elements, including disaster recovery, business recovery, business resumption, contingency planning, and crisis management.

The University of Washington safeguards its critical business operations and protects the University's essential functions of teaching, research, and public service during and after emergencies in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations including, but not limited to, industry standardized best practices, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600, "Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs"; Chapter 38.52 RCW, "Emergency Management"; WAC 296-24-567, "Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Prevention Plans"; and Executive Order No. 27, "Suspended Operation Policy."

BARC, led by UW Emergency Management (UWEM), protects the critical business processes needed to keep the University operating during and after an emergency or disaster by using a standardized planning tool to develop the response and recovery process.

2.  Scope

This policy applies at all University locations including the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, jointly owned facilities, all other University-owned property, University-leased space, and temporary field operations and field trips that are under the control of University operations and staff.

The UW Bothell campus has special considerations related to co-location with Cascadia Community College and relationships with local jurisdictions and agencies that affect how this policy is implemented. Consult UW Bothell operating procedures and programs for implementation details.

The UW Tacoma campus has special considerations related to local jurisdictions and agencies. Consult UW Tacoma operating procedures and programs for implementation details.

University supported medical centers are exempt from the provisions of this policy statement, as they have separate continuity planning in place to comply with federal and state healthcare laws, but plans are coordinated with the rest of the University. All UWEM support and resources remain available to UW Medicine for assistance with the planning process.

3.  UW Compliance Responsibility

It is University policy that each vice president, vice provost, chancellor, dean, director, department chair, and supervisor is responsible for the operational continuity in their respective units. They are entitled to receive guidance and direction from UWEM as part of a cooperative effort for planning. All planning will greatly rely on the input from the staff and faculty of each department to ensure a proper level of consideration is given to all aspects of that unit's critical functional operations. The actual plan will be written by a member of the department as designated by the unit leader. BARC responsibilities apply to all units as follows:

A.  Campus, Organizational Unit, and Department

All University administrative and academic units are required to have in place a plan that includes procedures for operational continuity to ensure the University is able to provide critical services. These plans should include, but are not limited to:

  #1 A prioritized recovery check list of critical resources and infrastructure needed to support the unit's primary mission and function.  This planning will be done in cooperation with UWEM and identified subject matter experts from within the unit or from other University units that have an interdependent relationship.

  #2 An alternative staffing plan to allow for operations when greater than 25% of the unit's staffing is unable to work for more than 72 hours. It is vital that such planning be in compliance with existing state laws, regulations, and University policies.  Human Resources will be invited to partner with the unit and UWEM to ensure all due consideration regarding employment practice is maintained.

  #3 An alternative location designated in the event the primary workspace is not available. This planning will occur in cooperation with the Office of Planning and Budgeting, UW Real Estate Office, UWEM, and other appropriate units as agreed upon.

  #4 A plan to promote personal preparedness for staff and faculty.

Administrative/Business units include both centralized as well as distributed organizations, departments, and divisions that support the academic functions of the University. 

Academic units include all colleges, schools, departments, programs, and centers that serve the primary mission of the University through its teaching/instruction and public service activities.

Research units include both centralized as well as distributed laboratories and research facilities that are affiliated with the University, including those located outside the United States.

B.  UW Emergency Management (UWEM)

UWEM provides expertise and oversight for the development and maintenance of the University BARC program and creates a backup centralized location for documentation of all campus-wide departmental business continuity plans, training, and exercises. The primary location of such documentation should be in the respective units. BARC training for best practices is also available to University units at least annually.

Business, academic, and research continuity planning plays a vital role in the all-hazards disaster preparedness approach for the University.  It is through BARC planning that University entities will develop the necessary understanding of their core processes and interdependencies required for effective prevention of and response to operational disruptions.

4.  UW Compliance Procedures

A.  Planning

All units will identify and protect their critical processes, operations documents, and functions that are necessary to the University's daily operations through a business continuity plan.

Each unit will provide a reasonable amount of time and resources towards developing their unit business continuity plan, with oversight and direction given from the Business Continuity Manager, in the UWEM Office.

Plans will be exercised by each unit, in cooperation with the UWEM once every biennium.

The current planning tool recommended by UWEM, combined with the four minimum requirements listed in Section 3 of this policy, will be the minimum standard for BARC compliance. At the discretion of each department, other planning tools may be utilized in addition to the one recommended by UWEM.

B.  Plan Activation and Communications

A business, academic, or research emergency may be declared by the unit director, department head, dean, vice president/provost, most senior administrative official, or a designated appointee in the absence of the other individuals.

This section does not grant the authority to declare a University-wide emergency or disaster. Such a University-wide declaration can only be made by the University President or his or her designee.

Upon declaration of a business, academic, research disruption, or emergency and activation of the business continuity management plan, the unit director, department head, dean, vice president/ provost, most senior administrative official, or designated appointee will immediately notify UWEM. Once an emergency has been declared, UWEM should also be notified through the UWEM duty pager at 206-797-0176.

Communications being the most critical function of emergency response and recovery, all unit directors or senior management officials will oversee the development of communication plans that address the necessary information needs of the following groups:

  • Employees and their families;

  • Appropriate administrative management for their unit as well as any appropriate Unit Response Center (URC) communications, if activated; and

  • UWEM and the University's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), when activated.

These communication plans will designate primary, secondary, and tertiary forms of communication. These plans will also designate a line of succession and delegation of authority if the unit director or the most senior administrative official is unavailable.

C.  Business, Academic, and Research Continuity Planning and Management—Normal Operations

During normal operations, unit directors, or the most senior administrative officials, or their designees, will take steps to ensure timely business resumption, in the event of disruption, through the use of:

  • Vital data protection and backup, through UW Information Technology, and/or an independently managed data process and plan, including any automated business continuity systems as mandated by Washington State's Department of Information Systems.

  • The protection of vital paper records through the UW Records Management Services.

  • Alternative operating plans, including a flexible staffing plan.

  • Employee training and education with an emphasis on emergency preparedness and a business continuity mindset.

  • Identifying roles and responsibilities essential for continuity of operations and communication methods for employees to receive work-related information during or after a disaster.

  • Plans to recover from emergency operations and transition to normal daily operations.

D.  Business, Academic, and Research Continuity Planning and Management—Large Scale

During an emergency affecting the entire campus or region, normal operating and business services may be interrupted. While the University Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be coordinating and supporting the large-scale response, each organizational unit will be required to evaluate their operational status and determine if they need to activate their business continuity management plan. Activation of the plan will be reported to the appropriate Unit Response Center (URC) or the University EOC, if the URC is not operational.

Additionally, early notification to the UWEM duty officer (see for contact information) can be helpful in getting the assistance needed in a more timely manner.

5.  Additional Information

For additional information, contact the UWEM Office:

In addition, the following specific web pages are available:

April 11, 2007; June 13, 2012.