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Upcoming Events
« January 2018 »

North West Branch

Welcome to the SaRS North West Branch home page

The next North West Branch meeting is:

18th January 2018 Malcolm Baker ex Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police The Litvinenko investigation – a system of systems. Safe and reliable? Birchwood Golf Club, Warrington

Thursday 18th Jan .  6pm Birchwood Golf Club

“The Litvinenko investigation – a system of systems. Safe and reliable?”

Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and KGB, who fled from court prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom.   On November 1, 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later, becoming the first confirmed victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome. Litvinenko’s allegations about the misdeeds of the FSB and his public deathbed accusations resulted in worldwide media coverage.  Subsequent investigations by British authorities into the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death led to serious diplomatic difficulties.

It is over 10 years since the​ events made worldwide headlines, as well as covering what occurred from a first hand perspective,  ​the presentation will consider key aspects which are highly relevant to safety and reliability professionals

  • The Counter Terrorism Command that lead the investigation as a H​igh ​​Reliability Organisation
  • The nature of complex investigations – a System of systems – key partnerships of the investigation, including Government (inc. COBR), intelligence agencies ,Dept. of Health, Health Protection Agency, ‘normal’ police, Homicide Teams, aviation, press/media etc.;
  • How to disentangle the clash of ‘organisational safety culture’ when working in a multi-agency environment.
  • How to create resilience during times of uncertainty

Our presenter will be Malcolm Baker who was a Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police and one of the key investigating officers in the case.  He has undertaken senior roles in Business and Operational Risk Management, Protective Security and Organisational Learning and Counter Terrorism in the Metropolitan Police.  He now undertakes specialist Security and Resilience work across a wide range of nuclear facilities.

These events are open to non members and visitors, who are most welcome. Evening talks will commence at 1730.

The branch covers a wide range of industries and organisations which include Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Defence.

Who to contact for more information:

For further information on the North West Branch (including events), please contact the Secretary, Francesca Valley.










Event Summary:

Presentation to North West Branch 30th June 2016, Graham Dalzell “Dangerous Decisions, Lessons from Andrew Hopkins’ study of the Macondo Blowout”



Presentation to North West Branch 14th May 2015

On Thursday 14th May 2015, Pete Stanton delivered a talk on ‘ALARP in the Rail Industry’ to the well-attended North West Branch meeting, held at Birchwood Gold Club in Warrington.

Pete, a Senior Asset Management Analyst at Network Rail and the Financial Director of Safety and Reliability Society, gave a detailed overview of the way the Rail Industry is structured and explained the way in which Network Rail is organised and operates.  The Safety Risk Model outlined by the Rail Standards and Safety Board (RSSB) is used by Network Rail to calculate the causes and consequences of hazardous events. Through their Fault Tree Analysis example Network Rail are able to monitor any risks and continue to improve safety on the railways and at train stations.

Using comparisons with the 15 largest European Union railways, Pete’s work led him to deliberate over statistics that showed the trend of passenger accidents in each country. The United Kingdom has the lowest passenger risks with 1.81 FWSI per billion train km according to 2009-2013 figures. This is compared to Romania who has 37.27, making the UK railways reasonably safe. Research into the common safety methods around Europe found similarities with the European Legislation to simplify interoperability.

Asking the question “what do common safety methods apply to”, Pete explored the significant changing factors;

  1. Additionality: have there been other small changes since the last assessment which should be taken into account?
  2. Reversibility: can the change be reversed?
  3. Monitoring: can the change be monitored through the system life-cycle?
  4. Failure consequence: what is the credible worst-case outcome?
  5. Novelty: new for you, new for whole railway?
  6. Complexity of the change

The second factor when thinking of common safety methods is hazard identification. Pete explained that the system must be properly defined; taking into account what could and should be in the scope. Through the hazard identification process, HAZID sessions must be run as well as the creation of hazard logs. Then there must be an initial classification of hazards to assess whether they’re broadly acceptable and if so, the hazard log should be closed.

Risk Assessment Routes are the third common safety method where each hazard can choose between:

  • Relevant standards
  • Reference system
  • Risk assessment

The fourth common safety method is Demonstration of Compliance to confirm that requirements have been met through the process. Network Rail uses a whole life costing system to calculate the value of its assets. Pete concluded that Network Rail embrace change, in all its forms – engineering change, service change, level crossings and complex change with the Digital Railway.

Elinor Davies

Past Branch News

The Re-Launch of the North West Branch

  • The first Branch meeting, to kick-start a series of evening talks and discussion sessions was on Thursday, 11th September 2014 at Birchwood Golf Club, Warrington at 1730. The event addressed topics which are of relevance to Safety and Reliability Professionals and are an excellent method of keeping informed of current developments; additionally the meetings are an ideal networking opportunity.
  • SaRS headquarters hosted a talk, ‘‘Delivering ALARP in Network Rail” from Pete Stanton on Tuesday 24th January, 2012.
  • The first talk of 2011 was given by Mr. Graham Dalzell “Risk Assessment – One Size Does Not Fit All” as part of the Open Evening held on 15th September, 2011. This was followed by a discussion of lessons emerging from the Fukushima accident presented by Mr. Andrew Coatsworth of Sellafield Ltd held on 5th October, 2011.



Branch Organisers:

Chair: Andy Buchan

Secretary:  Francesca Vallely

Treasurer: Peter Williams