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Safety-Critical Systems Club - Group: Service Assurance Group
 
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Service Assurance Working Group

Welcome to the SCSC Service Assurance Working Group (SAWG) area.

The next meeting will be on 20th November 2018, in London.

This paper on service-based assurance describing progress to date was presented at SSS'18.

Minutes of Meetings

Meeting #11, 18th September 2018, BAE London

Meeting #10, 27th June 2018, NATS

Meeting #9, 15th May 2018, Portsmouth Naval Base

Meeting #8, 16th March 2018, NATS

Meeting #7, 17th January 2018, QinetiQ

Meeting #6, 23rd November 2017, Thales

Meeting #5, 4th October 2017, NATS

Meeting #4, 7th September 2017, BAE

Meeting #3, 21st June 2017, NATS

Meeting #2, 27th April 2017, Adelard

Meeting #1, 2nd March 2017, CGI

 

What is Service Assurance?

In this context, this is concerned with service models and 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, process 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, 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). It is likely that service (as distinct from system) failures have 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 for 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.

Agreed Vision

To produce clear and practical guidance on how services should be managed in a safety related context, to reflect emerging best practice. 

 

Please contact mike.parsons@scsc.uk if you would like further information.

 

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SCSC 06-03-2018 [V4e]