Webinar: Is Independence an Overrated Virtue? (Revisited)

Is Independence an Overrated Virtue? (Revisited)

Wednesday 21 October, 2020 - Online Event

Date: October 21st

Time: 11.00 am BST

Duration: 1 hour (5 mins intro / housekeeping; 30 mins presentation + 15 mins Q&A;  10 mins ISA WG update)

Title: Is independence an overrated virtue? (Revisited)

Presenter: Professor Roderick I Muttram FREng FIET FIRSE SMIEEE

Register for free


In the 12 years since the first paper was delivered at the iMechE,  Systems and projects have become even more complex, raising new assurance challenges. The process of Independent assessment has become much more widespread and routine, particularly within Europe but has also spread to many other parts of the world. Most of us are now familiar with NoBo’s, DeBo’s and AsBo’s as well as ISA’s. The effectiveness and added value of these processes is nevertheless still open to regular questioning.

Since 2008, China has built some 30,000km of high-speed lines and has worked hard to improve its internal processes. More generally, automation has proceeded ‘at a pace’. Automated metros are now common and there is rapid development, particularly in data analysis, road transport and medial diagnostics using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. These techniques raise new questions about ethics and the role of independence in the design and assurance processes, not just about functionality and safety but also more subtle things like covert influencing and emulated empathy.

This first webinar of a series will allow audiences to hear up-to-date views and debate from those involved in providing or accepting independent safety assurance for modern or evolving safety-critical systems. The audience will be invited to participate in the debate and to provide considered feedback of their own views through a set of questionnaires related to each of the specific topics covered in this webinar series.

Topics to be covered currently comprise:

  • The value of independence in providing or accepting safety assurance.
  • Integrating environmental impact assessments with safety assurance.
  • Procurement and Management of Software-Intensive Systems.

Before joining the webinar, please read the following paper.

A survey is also included for you to complete after the webinar. Please share your completed survey to

Value of independence in Independent Safety Assessment [DOCX, 38KB]







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