Begin Main Content Area

Continuity of Government (CoG) Planning Guide


Title 4, 6.53 Pennsylvania Code: "Secretary of Administration is responsible for ensuring that comprehensive emergency preparedness/business continuity plans exist in all agencies."
Executive Order 2002-1: Secretary of Administration to chair Steering Committee to provide guidelines, oversight and policy direction to agencies on internal emergency plans - consistent with PA EOP maintained by PEMA.
On August 29, 2003, Governor Edward G. Rendell, in a letter to all agency heads, made business continuity planning a top priority for all Commonwealth agencies.  He delegated to the Office of Administration the responsibility to oversee the creation of agency Continuity of Government (CoG) plans and charged the Deputy Secretary for Administration of each agency with the responsibility of ensuring that an effective CoG plan is created for their agencies.
Executive Order 2006-1 directs all agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction to update, exercise and be prepared to implement plans that ensure continuity of essential operations in the event of a short or long term emergency; Continuity of Government (CoG) Steering Committee established to be chaired by Secretary of Administration.


The overall purpose of the Continuity of Government (CoG) is to ensure the continuity of essential functions under all circumstances that may disrupt normal operations.  The changing threat environment since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and recent - emergencies -  including localized acts of nature, domestic terrorists incidents, power outages, technological emergencies and accidents -  have increased awareness that governments need to be able to continue their essential functions across a broad spectrum of emergencies.  "Readiness requires that State government be able to continue meeting the needs of its people despite the fear, chaos, and suffering disasters breed... Discontinuity in the State's ability to conduct the public's business is reflected in lost information, revenue, programs, credibility, and confidence, with increased vulnerability, chaos, and human suffering."

1.  Prevention  Component

      The purpose of this system component is for each agency to identify the potential hazards and vulnerabilities and to identify actions that can be taken to control, reduce or eliminate the risk.

a.  Prevention Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. Mitigation Prevention Worksheet
  2. Vulnerability Analysis Worksheet
  3. Building Analysis Worksheet

2.  Emergency Response Component

     Each Agency must be prepared to respond to all types of emergencies, be it a single event involving one employee, or a major event involving life threatening events to many employees.  It is imperative that Commonwealth employees have the assurance that the agency will be prepared to respond and provide leadership and emergency actions, if needed.

a.  Emergency Response Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. CPR/First Aid/AED Certified Employees Worksheet
  2. Emergency Supplies and Maintenance Worksheet
  3. Emergency Evacuation Plan Template

b.  Emergency Response Commonwealth-Related Policies

  1. Manual 505.6, An Agency Guide To Workplace Violence And Prevention And Response.
  2. Management Directive 505.11 - Amended, Emergency Assignments of Employees During Emergencies
  3. Management Directive 625.4 - Amended, Enforcement of Fire And Panic Regulations
  4. Management Directive 720.3 - Amended, Guidelines For Preparing For, Responding To And Reporting Emergencies At State Offices
  5. Management Directive 720.4 - Amended, Safety And Loss Prevention Program
  6. PA Code - Title 4, Administrative 3.21, Responsibilities Of Department And Agencies During Emergencies

3.  Continuity of Operations (COOP) Component

     The purpose of Continuity of Operations (COOP) system component is for each agency to identify the following in order to continue to provide State government services to the citizens of Pennsylvania.
  1. Essential Functions And Key Personnel
  2. Vital Records, Systems And Equipment
  3. Alternate Work Sites And Relocation Site
  4. Communications Plan

4.  Critical Business Functions/Essential Personnel Component

a.  Critical Business Functions Worksheets/Resources

  1. Agency Functions Worksheet
  2. Functions Questionnaire Worksheet
  3. Resource Requirements For Critical Processes And Services Supporting Essential Functions Worksheet
  4. Priority of Critical Processes And Services Supporting Essential Functions Worksheet
  5. Priority of Essential Functions Worksheet
  6. Authority To Be Delegated Worksheet
  7. Delegation of Authority: Rules, Procedures And Limitations Worksheet
  8. Current Organization Chart Worksheet
  9. Consequences Resulting From A Past Or Existing Vacancy Worksheet
  10. Key Positions By Questioning Worksheet
  11. Key Positions By Historical Evidence Worksheet
  12. Essential Functions And Key Positions Worksheet
  13. Order Of Succession Worksheet

5.  Alternate Site Component

     The purpose of Continuity of Operations (COOP) Alternate Site system component is for each agency to provide and identify a location(s) where the agency can carry out critical business functions when the critical facilities are inaccessible.
     Because the need to relocate may occur without warning, agencies should make every effort to pre-position, maintain or provide for minimum essential equipment for continued operations of critical business functions at the alternate operating facilities for a minimum of thirty days.

a.  Alternate Site Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. Requirements For Alternate Work Sites Worksheet
  2. Alternate Work Site Options Worksheet
  3. Transportation, Lodging, And Food Worksheet
  4. Security And Access Worksheet
  5. Command/Alternate Command Center Worksheet

6.  Vital Records Component

     The purpose of Continuity of Operations (COOP) Vital Records system component is for each agency to provide for the protection, accessibility and recovery of the agency's vital records, systems and equipment.  These are records, systems, and equipment that if irretrievable, lost, or damaged will materially impair the agency's ability to conduct business or carry out essential functions.  In regard, each agency should have a maintenance program for the preservation and quality assurance of data and systems.  The program should take into account the cost of protecting or reconstructing records weighed against the necessity of the information to achieving the agency mission.  Continuity of Government planning takes advantage of the maintenance programs already in place and may improve upon them to achieve optimal readiness for disruptions to an agency's essential or critical business functions.

a.  Vital Records Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. Vital Records Worksheet
  2. Vital Records Protection Methods Worksheet
  3. Restoration And Recovery Resources Worksheet
  4. Vital Systems And Equipment Worksheet
  5. Vital Systems And Equipment Protection Methods
  6. Vital Systems And Equipment Priority

b.  Vital Records Component Commonwealth-Related Policies

  1. Manual 210.7 - Amend, State Records Management Manual
  2. Manual 210.8 - Vital Records Disaster Planning
  3. Management Directive 210.5 - Amended 210.5 Amended, Records Management
  4. ITBs: Security, Privacy & Business Continuity Planning

7.  Communications Component

     The purpose of Continuity of Operations (COOP) Communications system component is for each agency to identify effective and reliable methods for communications in an emergency.  Because the need to relocate may occur without warning, agencies should make every effort to ensure that there are well defined chains of communication with alternate means of communicating.

a.  Communications Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. Communications Systems Supporting Essential Functions Worksheet
  2. Preventive Controls For Communication Systems Worksheet
  3. Alternate Modes Of Communication Worksheet
  4. Personnel Contact List Worksheet

8.  Resumption Planning Component

     Just as important to each agency is to have a plan to activate and implement the Continuity of Government Operations, it is critical to have plans and procedures to guide the agency's return to normalcy.

9.  Plan Implementation Component

     The purpose of the Plan Implementation/Incident Command component is for each agency to identify a decision process, including the development of agency-specific teams to be charged with responsibilities to effectively hand an emergency and facilitate the continuation of essential functions.

a.  Plan Implementation Component Worksheets/Resources

  1. Categories of Emergencies
  2. Plan Implementation Checklist

10.  Testing, Training, and Evaluation Component

     The purpose of the Testing, Training and Evaluation component is for each agency to provide instructions in individual, team or agency function, procedures and responsibilities necessary to activate, sustain, and terminate an agency's COOP plan.

11.  Maintenance Component

     The purpose of the Maintenance component is for each agency to achieve the following steps.
  1. Develop, manage, and maintain viability, capability and readiness
  2. Ensure plan remains effective and suited to its purpose
  3. Ensure the availability of an acceptable level of business continuity
  4. Provide for multi-year strategy
Please note that the website contains policy memorandum from Nancy Dering Martin on the "Clarification of Working From Home."  To view this memorandum please click here.