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STV Steering Committee - 14 October 2002

Key messages from the Steering Committee meeting on 14 October 2002:

Certification of the STV Calculator - Malcolm Stayner presented a paper on the certification of the STV Calculator and, after discussion, the Committee:
    1. agreed that the STV Calculator be submitted to the Certifier appointed by the Secretary for Local Government for certification;

    2. agreed that adequate practices be prescribed by way of legislation, regulation and code of practice to ensure the integrity of the input file of votes presented to the STV Calculator for processing;

    3. agreed that the use of static XML files provides separation between components of the end-to-end process while providing for a transparent means of transferring data between those processes;

    4. agreed that the use of digital certificates provides secure transfer of, and prevents tampering with, the XML input file to and the XML output file from the STV Calculator;

    5. agreed that the human-readable XML output file from the STV Calculator constitutes the official result of an STV election. Further processing of that file may be permitted provided that there are adequate checks to ensure that any further output is consistent with the official result;

    6. agreed that local authorities would be informed as soon as possible that DIA will supply the STV Calculator;

    7. agreed that the STV Calculator would be made available progressively; starting in November 2002 with the full specification of the input and output files;

    8. agreed that the role of certifier was to examine computer programs as submitted and certify those programs that produce outcomes consistent with the authorised algorithm;

    9. asked the STV project team to provide further advice to the steering Committee on the arrangements for making the software available;

    10. noted that a legal duty of care exists on the certifier, thus any breach could give rise to legal liability on the part of the certifier;

    11. noted further issues may arise as further work continues and that relevant parties will be kept informed and consulted as required;

    i. The Committee agreed to the approach outlined in the Calculator Options Paper, namely that the end-to-end process is separated out into distinct areas; DIA’s responsibility rests with certifying the calculator; and provision of assurance would be by means of digital certificates and good practices which will be enforced through regulations or recommended through a code of practice.

    ii. It was noted that further work was required on the calculator which would require further funding; it was important to maintain the momentum of the work to ensure a timeline which was appropriate for local authorities needs.

    iii. Key dates were:

      1. XML Specification available - Nov 2002

      2. Release of audited modified calculator for field trials -Jan 2003

      3. Release of final certified version of the calculator (Certification requires STV Regulations to be in place) - by July 2003

Communications - the issue was the extent of any information/education campaign about the STV option and about STV itself. There would be a meeting between the STV Implementation Team and SOLGM and LGBZ to discuss and agree the extent of the information/education campaign that the Department would recommend to the Minister.

Legislation/regulations - drafting was underway of the proposed regulations for the conduct of elections using STV.

Key streams of work - the STV Implementation project consisted of work on legislation, STV Calculator, information and budget/funding.

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Last updated: 13/05/2005