UKAS has provided an accreditation service to the UK forensic sector, predominantly ISO/IEC 17025 testing laboratories, for over 25 years. This accreditation service has developed and continues to develop to address the rapidly changing forensic landscape with the most recent innovation being the grant of the first accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 in the field of crime scene investigation. In developing this accreditation to the international standard for inspection bodies, UKAS utilised input from key stakeholders by setting up a Steering Committee to provide technical advice from a number of different perspectives. This proved instrumental in the successful development of the ISO/IEC 17020 service. As the forensic landscape continues to develop, we have recognised the benefit of stakeholder engagement for a wider forensic remit and so have established the Forensic Science Technical Advisory Committee (FSTAC) as a mechanism to provide necessary technical advice/input.
The purpose of the UKAS FSTAC is to advise UKAS on technical matters related to the development and operation of UKAS accreditation activities in the forensic sector. In particular, to respond to the requirements of UKAS for advice on specific technical issues including:
- The formulation and review of specific technical criteria to facilitate effective and consistent application of UKAS’ activities.
- The acceptability of particular processes and procedures as a basis for accrediting conformity assessment bodies (e.g. laboratories, inspection bodies etc)
- The provision of information relating to dynamic forensic issues that may have an important impact upon UKAS’ services, or could indicate potential areas that could also benefit from UKAS accreditation
- The identification of potential assessors and sources of assessors
- The need for and conduct of proficiency testing and inter-laboratory comparisons
- The impact of national, European and other international initiatives.
- The need for the establishment of specialist task forces
The Chairman of FSTAC is independent of UKAS but is appointed by the UKAS Technical, Quality & Risk Director for a period of three years. Reappointment for a further period(s) may be made.
Members of FSTAC are appointed in a personal capacity by invitation from UKAS. They are selected on the basis of having the necessary technical knowledge and expertise to contribute to the work of FSTAC and where relevant, for their ability to act as a representative of their organisation, sector or other interest. Members represent a range of forensic stakeholder interests including Academia, Accredited bodies, Customers of accredited bodies, Governmental specialists, Independent specialists, Forensic Science Regulator, Professional institutes and UKAS (assessors & other staff). Membership is reviewed by UKAS in conjunction with the Chairman at least every three years. Members of FSTAC are required to exercise discretion in respect of information received in the course of their duties as members and to treat as confidential any information so marked or related in confidence. Members are requested to sign the UKAS Confidentiality Agreement.
On matters requiring specific technical expertise, task groups may be set up. The membership of any such task group will be agreed by UKAS and FSTAC and may include members from outside FSTAC.
FSTAC meets as necessary when there are sufficient items or urgent items to justify a meeting, typically every 6 months.
Decisions on issues discussed by FSTAC are reached by consensus, i.e. not by voting.
Members receive briefing papers as necessary at least two weeks before the meeting to permit time for consultation and consideration. Papers for meetings are not public documents.
Please contact us to review details of future meetings and summary documents from past meetings.
Forensic Science TAC Committee Member
Jim Fraser Independent Chairman – University of Strathclyde David Compton United Kingdom Accreditation Service Katherine Monnery United Kingdom Accreditation Service Chanda Lowther-Harris Metropolitan Police Service Victoria Morton Scottish Police Authority (Forensic Services) Siobhan Green PSNI Gillian Tully Forensic Science Regulator Martyn Jones UKAS Technical Assessor – Independent Jo Taylor College of Policing Peter Harper Orchid Cellmark Ltd (AFSP Representative) Paul Daniels National Crime Agency Marie Barrett Forensic Marketplace Management Team (Home Office) TBC National DNA Delivery Unit (Home Office) Anya Hunt Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences