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News:

SCSC Post Office Horizon Position

* The Post Office Horizon system would not normally be regarded as a safety system, yet it is a computer-based system that has indirectly led to widespread harm.

* The ongoing public enquiry has raised important legal, ethical and technical concerns. Problems highlighted include: sub-postmasters could not see what was going on (for example, figures changed remotely without sub-postmaster knowledge), poor quality coding and lack of both audit and fault logging.

* The SCSC fully supports the public enquiry and other investigations, and we agree with professional computer bodies (e.g. the British Computer Society) that there should be a review of how computer-based system evidence is treated by the courts.

* We will look to adopt relevant recommendations and encourage our members to do the same once the enquiry and investigations conclude.

* We propose that organisations relying on computer-based system evidence in court should, where challenged, be required to justify that the system, including aspects such as hardware, software, data and service delivery, is reliable. Furthermore the evidence should be shown to be trustworthy. The justification should also show appropriate confidence in use, including in the way that reported problems are managed. Courts should not accept evidence relating to the computer-based system without this justification.

* Where there are disputes involving computer-based systems there must be fair treatment; i.e. where relevant, there must be access for both sides to technical experts who in turn must be given access to appropriate software and data.

* Post Office Horizon is an example of how systems, organisations, agreements, people and processes came together within a delivered service to result in indirect but severe harm. We suggest that the SCSC Service Assurance Guidance could be useful in such situations to reduce risks.

* We will extend the remit of the SCSC to cover any computer-based systems and services which could cause harm. This will include harm in the wider context of the system including all stakeholders, the environment and consequential harms, not just harm caused directly by the system or service itself.

Note: Here “computer-based system” includes aspects such as hardware, software, data and service delivery. 

AI Investment

Microsoft is opening a new office in London dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) research and development: https://lnkd.in/e7BVeV-N
This technology is going to impact us in so many ways - the SCSC will look at some of the safety implications in a series of seminars this year. The first seminar looking at frameworks is on 25th April: https://scsc.uk/e1081

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2024

Applications for the IET Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year Awards are now open, https://youngwomenengineer.theiet.org It would be great to see a Safety Engineer win this!

News archive:Page

Present a Poster at SSS (Oct 22)

The SCSC Safety Critical Systems Symposium will be held in York in February 2023. There will be a poster session at the symposium where presenters can explain their work in a more informal setting. If you would like to present a poster then please submit a short abstract (1 paragraph) to mike.parsons@scsc.uk by 30th November 2022. Full details at https://scsc.uk/e898

Invitation to Review: IEC Committee Draft Document: IEC 61508 Edn.3 CD (Parts 1-7) (Oct 22)

Members of the SCSC are invited to review the Committee Draft of the 3rd Edition of IEC 61508 on Functional safety of electrical-electronic-programmable electronic safety-related systems.

This invitation is strictly available to current members of the SCSC only and should not be distributed. All members are requested to download their own copy.

The deadline for comments to phil.williams@scsc.uk is 9th December 2022. Late submissions are unlikely to be accepted.

The invitation to review, along with instructions on conduct of the review and links to the source documents is available at scsc.uk/rp142.4 (accessible to logged in current members only)

Invitation to Review: IEC Committee Draft Document: IEC 63187-1 (Oct 22)

Members of the SCSC are invited to review the Committee Draft created by the ISO/IEC's SC65A WG18 on Framework for safety critical E-E-PE systems for defence industry applications.

This invitation is strictly available to current members of the SCSC only and should not be distributed. All members are requested to download their own copy.

The deadline for comments to phil.williams@scsc.uk is 2nd November 2022. Late submissions are unlikely to be accepted.

The invitation to review, along with instructions on conduct of the review and links to the source documents is available at scsc.uk/rp142.3 (accessible to logged in current members only)

The Future of Requirements for Safety-Critical Systems (Sep 22)

Presentations and videos from this seminar held on 22 September are now available here.

The presentation Aircraft accidents that have resulted from incorrect requirements by Dewi Daniels is available for anyone to watch. The other videos are available to SCSC members.

Death of Queen Elizabeth II (Sep 22)

The SCSC is sad to hear the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The club has only known her reign and is thankful for the stability, continuity and constancy that the Queen brought to the UK and also many other countries. We are grateful for her strong sense of public duty and ownership - something we can recognise as safety engineers. Our thoughts go to her family, and the new King Charles.