IET Code of Practice “Cyber Security and Safety”

IET Code of Practice "Cyber Security and Safety"

A couple of years back, fellow members of the IET’s Safety Technical Professional Network Andy German and Richard Piggin (both then at Atkins) proposed the creation of a Code of Practice for Cyber Security and Safety.

Shortly afterwards, I joined a motley crew gathered at the IET’s headquarters at Savoy Place and held a brainstorming session…

This in turn led to deeper discussions, and for one or two people, a lot of hard work.


I am proud of my small, supporting, role in the production of this publication – I hope industry finds it useful and informative, and it can help make our systems more secure and hence safer. And my thanks to LDRA for supporting my involvement in this Group.

The document is available for free download from the IET website.

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ECF Monthly Gradings

The new, monthly, ECF gradings are out! This moves to a four-digit ELO-based system.

  • Andrew: Rapidplay 1375D, StandardPlay 1480E
  • Emily: Rapidplay 1008C
  • Isobel: Rapidplay 783C
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ECG Gradings – July 2020

Although the season was curtailed due to the Covid restrictions, the ECF Gradings have been updated to reflect the season.

My StandardPlay grading is up (to 104E – based on a total of 12 matches), but my RapidPlay grading is down (to 90D – based on 20 matches).

Emily nudges up to 41B (from 36C) , while Isobel nudges up to 11B (from 7A) – both RapidPlay only.

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FIDE Rating – Mar-2020

Following my fairly poor showing at the Richmond Rapidplay, it comes as no surprise that my grading has dipped…

Thankfully not by too much…

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ECF Gradings – January 2020

The “December 2019” gradings are out!

Gradings wef 2019-12-31
  Andrew Emily Isobel
Standard Play 95E
Rapid Play 98E 35D 7A
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FIDE Ranking – September 2019

With the publication of the September 2019 gradings, I’m pleased to gain my debut FIDE rating.

As estimated following the August Richmond Rapid Play, this has been confirmed as 1,009 – which I will endeavour to improve.

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Richmond Rapid-Play #125

Sunday 11th August saw my return to competitive rapid-play, for the first time since the summer of 2007!

Both Emily and Isobel were entered for the U80 (grade) section, and I entered the U120… notably, the majority of players in both sections were juniors.


The first match saw me entering the end-game with a material and time advantage… but carelessness allowed my opponent (who subsequently came 3rd overall) to dismantle my pawn structure, leading to my resignation. A quick win in the second, and an early agreed draw was a satisfying morning’s work.

The afternoon began with a long (in rapid-play terms) match against one of the few other adults… with both players under two minutes left on the clock, my opponent had a bishop for two pawn advantage – his additional mobility paid dividends. In the fifth, a tactical game resulted in an agreed draw. The final round saw me enter the end game two pawns down, with my King defending against a passed pawn. Thankfully my opponent blundered, allowing me to block his King’s path through my pawn structure… a third draw.

Overall, one win and three draws (with a grading performance estimated at 78.8) was a reasonable result. Equally important, gaining two draws from the three games against FIDE graded players means (for the first time) I have a FIDE grade (estimated at 1009).


Both Emily and Isobel struggled, registering one win (against the same opponent) in their first five games… leading to the inevitable match-up – with Emily winning the family bragging rights in the sixth round.

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Chess Gradings – July 2019


Our latest gradings are as follows:

Gradings wef 2019-08-01
Andrew 107F
Emily 25F
Isobel 0E
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Five Minutes With…

Recently, I took part in a Five Minutes With… interview with Richard Nass (of Embedded Computing Design) discussing MISRA C.

The interview can be heard on the ECD website.

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Budget 2018 – Smoke and Mirrors

I don’t normally “do” politics on this blog, but claims in Budget 2018 have irritated.  Particularly the assertion that someone warning £50,000 “will be £860 a year better off from next April.”

An analysis of the numbers shows that this is not even an exaggeration, it is simply a lie!

For the purpose of this analysis, I have assumed a salary of £50,000 – simply as this aligns with the increased Higher rate threshold.

Income Tax

At first glance, the numbers stack up…

Income Tax Changes for 2019/20
Rate 2018/19 2019/20 Delta
Band Tax Band Tax
Nil Rate 0% £11,850 £0.00 £12,500 £0.00 £0.00
Basic Rate 20% £34,000 £6,900.00 £37,500 £7,500.00 £600.00
Higher Rate 40% £3,650 £1,460.00 £0 £0.00 -£1,460.00
Total £50,000 £8,360.00 £50,000 £7,500.00 -£860.00

National Insurance

But hidden in the small-print of the budget was the (expected) statement that the NI Upper Earnings Limit would increase in line with the Higher Rate threshold; the lower thresholds are also increased…

National Insurance Changes for 2019/20
Rate 2018/19 2019/20 Delta
Band Tax Band Tax
Below PT 0% £8,434 £0.00 £8,632 £0.00 £0.00
Below UEL 12% £37,916 £4,549.92 £41,368 £4,549.92 £414.24
Above UEL 2% £3,650 £73.00 £0 £0.00 -£73.00
Total £50,000 £4,622.92 £50,000 £4,964.16 £341.24

NEST Pension

The changes to the National Insurance thresholds also affect the NEST pension  contributions… while this is optional, it is opt-out, and probably not a bad idea…

Together the NI and NEST changes swallow up half of the claimed saving.

NEST Pension Changes for 2019/20
Rate 2018/19 2019/20 Delta
Band Tax Band Tax
Below LEL 0.0% £6,032 £0.00 £6,136 £0.00 £0.00
Below UEL 2.5% £40,318 £1,007.95 £43,864 £1,096.60 £88.65
Above UEL 0.0% £3,650 £0.00 £0 £0.00 £0
Total £50,000 £1,007.95 £50,000 £1,096.60 £88.65

The Sting In The Tale

Unannounced in this Budget, not even in the small print – because it relates to implementation of a long-announced change – is that for 2019/20 the contribution rate for NEST increases from 3% (2.5% nett) to 5% (4.17% nett).

NEST Pension Changes for 2019/20
Rate 2018/19 2019/20 Delta
Band Rate Tax Band Rate Tax
Below LEL £6,032 0.0% £0.00 £6,136 0.0% £0.00 £0.00
Below UEL £40,318 2.50% £1,007.95 £43,864 4.17% £1,827.67 £731.07
Above UEL £3,650 0.0% £0.00 £0 0.0% £0.00 £0
Total £50,000 £1,007.95 £50,000 £1,827.67 £731.07


In conclusion, while the headline Income Tax saving of £860 is welcomed, all other things being equal, workers earning £50,000 will be worse off by £212 a year.

Summary of Changes for 2019/20
Tax Delta
Income Tax -£860.00
National Insurance £341.24
NEST Pension £731.07
Total £212.31


Other than providing an opportunity for stealth taxes, now that the contributory basis of NI is no longer relevant, there is no justification for maintaining separate employment income tax and NI. Rather than raining the basic rate threshold, future budgets should raise the NI lower earnings limit to harmonise it with the tax threshold – at which point, employment income tax and NI should be merged (with their current combined rates of 0%, 32%, 42% and 47%).

Pensions, interest and dividend income can retain their existing rates.

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