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Service Assurance Working Group
Welcome to the SCSC Service Assurance Working Group (SAWG) area.
The next SCSC Service Assurance Working Group meeting (SAWG#53) will take place in person at BAE Systems Stirling Square, London in January 2024 - starting at 10:00 - Date TBC.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
A new version of the Service Assurance Guidance document (v3.2) is due to be published at SSS'24.
Also at SSS'24, an updated poster on service assurance will be presented by the WG.
A new version of the Service Assurance Guidance document (v3.1) was published at SSS'23.
Also at SSS'23, a poster on service assurance was presented by the WG.
A paper setting out A Service Analysis of the Mont Blanc Tunnel Fire Accident was presented at SSS'23
The third version of the Service Assurance Guidance Document was released at SSS'22 in February 2022. This is also available in hardcopy from Amazon, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Service-Assurance-Guidance-V3-0-Parsons/dp/B09NRH6VDP
An updated presentation on the work of the group was given at SSS'22.
A paper on applying service assurance to a motorway example was presented at SSS'22.
An SCSC Newsletter Article on the Service Assurance Guidance document was published in May 2020.
Two presentations on service assurance were given at SSS'20 in February 2020:
Two presentations on service assurance were given at SSS'19 in February 2019:
This paper on service-based assurance describing progress to date was presented at SSS'18.
Minutes of Meetings
Meeting #19, 11th December 2019, Teleconf (no formal minutes produced, but agreement to issue Guidance Document V1.0 at SSS)
What is Service Assurance?
In this context, this is concerned with service models and the provision of services which need an assurance position, i.e. Safety Assured Services. The services delivered can be of many forms (for instance Air Navigation, Fleet Maintenance or e-prescribing) and can be in diverse domains, e.g. Transport, Defence, Energy or Healthcare. The fundamental difference between systems and services here is that services include people, processes, contracts and agreements, and through-life elements (e.g. support and maintenance) as well as all the contributing systems.
It is also noted that many safety-related Information Technology systems are moving (or have moved) to an IT service provision model such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), where established safety standards and guidelines don't readily apply; something new is needed.
ITIL V3 defines a service as: "Services are a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating the outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks."
Why is the SCSC involved?
Many safety-related (and increasingly safety-critical) systems are used in a service context, i.e. consumed as part of an operational scenario (e.g. an ambulance despatch system or air traffic control system). It is recognised that a service view of safety is much more appropriate in these situations as there is a lot more involved than just the individual systems. It is the collaborative working of the systems, people, and processes (and also contracts and subcontractors) using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that gives the overall safety position.
There is very little specific guidance or standards for service assurance in a safety context, hence the SCSC would like to develop some material to assist practitioners in this area.
What will the Working Group do?
The working group will aim to achieve a set of goals for the group, develop a set of activities to achieve the goals and a timeframe in which to produce them. These will likely be guidance materials in the first instance. See below:
Statement of the Problem
It is agreed that the risks presented by safety-related services are rarely explicitly recognised or addressed in current safety management practices, guidelines and standards (which usually take a product-based perspective). Service (as distinct from system) failures have likely led to safety incidents and accidents, but this has not always been recognised.
It is acknowledged that a service-oriented approach may help in identifying and managing safety risks more effectively in many service-based scenarios, particularly where there are service contracts or service level agreements (SLAs) in place. This service view of safety will then better inform the content of the agreements put in place to manage the service. There are therefore clear business and societal benefits, in terms of reduced harm, reduced commercial liabilities and improved business efficiencies, in taking a service view of safety.
To produce clear and practical guidance on how services should be managed in a safety-related context, to reflect emerging best practice.
Please contact email@example.com if you would like further information.
WG Lead Bio
Kevin is an experienced Safety Engineering Manager working for BAE Systems who has been actively involved in supporting the delivery of safety-critical products in the defence industry for almost 40 years, predominantly across the Maritime sector. After starting in the field of Software Engineering Kevin moved across to focus on Product Safety in 2008. During 2023 Kevin has also picked up responsibility for Product Security and he is currently supporting a team of 33 engineers under the banner of Product Integrity.
Kevin's particular interests are in Safety Management Systems and Planning, Engineering Competency, Service Assurance, Model-Based Safety Assurance and the Assurance of Digital Twins. He has led initiatives to understand safety competence, defining suitable frameworks to manage it, and is active in developing and delivering training courses on Product Safety awareness to non-safety professionals.
A member of the SCSC for over 10 years, Kevin has been active in the Service Assurance Working Group since its inception in 2017 driving the development and publication of the Service Assurance Guidance. Recently (October 2023) he has taken on the chairmanship of the Group, building on the great leadership of Mike Parsons.
He has presented several papers on service assurance and digital twin assurance at international conferences and symposiums.
Kevin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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