Quality & Validation
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Ensuring that high quality results are consistently produced requires that an effective Quality System is thoroughly embedded in an organisation, both in terms of documentation and of culture. The FSS was the first forensic science laboratory accredited to the International ISO17025 standard, and the experts in Principal Forensic Services are thoroughly steeped in ways to develop, implement and continue to improve effective Quality Systems.
There are 3 tiers to formal quality standards in the UK, comprising two international standards ISO9001 and ISO17025, plus the forthcoming Regulator’s Codes of Practice and Conduct:
- The ISO9001 standard, which specifies requirements for a quality management system. It does not in itself demonstrate the competence of the laboratory to produce technically valid data and results.
- The ISO17025 standard, which specifies general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, and is widely considered to be the most appropriate quality standard for forensic laboratories.
- The Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System, developed by the UK Forensic Science Regulator (FSR).
Beyond these standards, the Experts in Principal Forensic Services:
- have extensive experience in troubleshooting, especially of DNA systems, and in identifying improved ways of working that improve effectiveness and efficiency whilst also reducing risk
- have been deeply involved in developing standards for casework assessment and interpretation that are essential for provision of robust forensic science to the CJS, but are not yet present in the FSR’s Codes;
- have many years experience in validating scientific methods and ensuring Court acceptance of novel scientific methods;
- have in-depth knowledge and experience of implementing methods to assure quality, such as ways of minimising and monitoring contamination, be it in relation to DNA, gunshot residue or any other trace evidence.
Principal Forensic Services offers consultation on any aspect of quality management and assurance, including audit, troubleshooting, establishing a Quality System, drafting or review of Quality System documentation, preparing for and gaining accreditation and validation of novel methods, products or services.