FSR Code transition template

Template for the Transition of Forensic Units from the non-statutory Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) Codes of Practice and Conduct Version 7 (the Codes) to the statutory FSR Code of Practice (the Code)


Organisations conducting forensic science activities (forensic units as defined in the Code) have been able to include compliance with the non-statutory Forensic Science Regulator Codes of Practice (the Codes) as part of their scope of UKAS accreditation since 2014.

The commencement of the Forensic Science Regulator Act (2021) moves the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) to a statutory role and requires the FSR to prepare and publish a statutory code of practice (the Code) relating to forensic science activities in England and Wales.

The statutory Forensic Science Regulators Code of Practice ‘the Code’ replaces the previous non-statutory version of the FSR Codes of Practice and Conduct Version 7.


The FSR has asked UKAS to assess forensic units who currently have the non-statutory Codes on their schedule of accreditation to determine if they can demonstrate appropriate compliance with the Code and can therefore transition to the Code for their current scope of accredited activity. The FSR has requested that this be completed within a six-month transition period following approval of the Code by Parliament. This will allow forensic units to transition to the Code and have this reflected on their schedule such that they will be able to declare compliance with the Code when it comes into force on the 2 October 2023.

To meet this timescale, the transition process will focus on the most significant changes that have been made within the Standards of Practice of the Code. However, forensic units must review the entire Code and ensure that they comply with all aspects relevant to the forensic service that they provide. The Code was published on the 13 March 2023 and is available on the FSR website Forensic Science Regulator – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Requirements on Forensic Units

It is the responsibility of the forensic unit to review the Code and to identify how the changes impact on their systems and services to ensure that they have taken appropriate action to address the changes and to ensure that they are compliant with the requirements of the Code.

This Transition Template provides the format for forensic units to document the actions that they have taken to review their systems for compliance with the Code and to provide evidence to UKAS of the documents within their management system that demonstrate compliance with the requirements. To be able to complete the Transition Template the forensic unit is required to review their current processes and documentation and determine whether their management system is currently compliant and if not where processes and documentation will need to be, and subsequently have been, updated. The coverage of the review undertaken, and the associated action taken to achieve compliance is required to be documented such that UKAS can determine the suitability of the review that was undertaken by the forensic unit and to determine the extent of the action taken and whether it is anticipated that this will address the change in the Code.

The clauses detailed in the template are the areas within the Standards of Practice in the Code that UKAS have determined to have changed most significantly from the previous non-statutory version and are therefore the areas that UKAS require demonstration of compliance to be able to transit forensic units to the Code. The completed template will be reviewed by UKAS via a desktop assessment.

Any on-site UKAS assessments (surveillance, reassessment, or extension to scope) that are completed following the submission of the Transition Template by a forensic unit will review the implementation of the documentation provided and will include assessment with the relevant aspects of the Code for the activities listed on the forensic units UKAS Schedule of Accreditation.


Any forensic unit wanting to be included in the transition prior to the effective date for the Code shall review their systems, complete the Transition Template detailing what action they have taken to ensure compliance and submit this to UKAS by the 19th June 2023. Any Transition Templates submitted after this date may not be reviewed prior to the effective date of the Code.

More information

Additional information can be found in the Technical Bulletin on the UKAS website – www.ukas.com/resources/technical-bulletins/fsr-codes-to-code-update/.

A short document for new Senior Accountable Individuals introducing UKAS, accreditation and their role and responsibilities as SAI can be found here.

A video giving some guidance on the completion of the Transition Template can be found here. (Link to follow)

Instructions for completing the Transition Template

The Transition Template identifies the clauses of the ‘Standards of Practice’ of the Code that in the opinion of UKAS have changed sufficiently to require assessment to facilitate transition from Version 7 of the Codes. However, these are not the only changes, therefore, forensic units must complete a full review of the Code to ensure that they have identified all the relevant changes in relation to the forensic services that they provide and that they are compliant with the requirements.

The Transition Template gives a broad indication of the significance of the change (and therefore an expectation with respect to the level of detail to be provided to UKAS)  i.e., Major / Minor, however, comprehensive details of the actual changes are not provided. Therefore, the forensic unit will need to use this Template in conjunction with a copy of the Code and Version 7 of the Codes to review the extent of the changes and establish whether their management system requires update to ensure continued compliance.

In completing this Transition Template, the forensic unit will need to identify the changes between the non-statutory Codes and the Code and determine the impact of these changes on its management system, policies, and procedures, and then make and implement any required amendments as necessary.

Details of the review undertaken by the forensic unit in response to the changes in the ‘Standards of Practice’, and any changes required to their systems, along with the evidence of the changes to demonstrate compliance, should be recorded in this template. The Transition Template should then be provided to UKAS via the UKAS Customer Portal by the 19 June 2023. The submission of this Template should be supported by the provision of documentation (which should be attached in the UKAS Customer Portal) demonstrating how new or changed requirements are being met. If the forensic unit considers that it currently meets a changed requirement and does not need to make any amendments to its system, then this should be stated in the template and the associated documentation to support this attached. The effective implementation of the documentation supplied by the forensic unit will be assessed at subsequent UKAS assessments.

An indication of the type of information to be provided to UKAS has been included for each clause, however, the forensic unit should include the information and documentation that they consider is required to demonstrate compliance.

Please note that the information entered in the Transition Template should be sufficient to demonstrate that the forensic unit has reviewed the impact of the requirement in the Code on their management system and ensured that their system is demonstrably in compliance and therefore should not only refer to the documentation provided but should also explain the rationale for the changes and detail the actions taken by the forensic unit. Examples of the expected level of information from the forensic unit for major and minor changes are provided below in Example 1.

Where documents, for example, policies and procedures, are supplied as evidence to demonstrate compliance the specific clause(s) of the attached document is required to be indicated to allow efficient review of the documentation. If insufficient reference is made such that the information cannot be readily identified within the documentation provided then this may result in the Transition Template being returned to the forensic unit for further clarification, which will lead to delays in the review and could lead to the transition not being completed by the effective date of the Code.

Changes to aspects of the Code other than the Standards of Practice, for example the coverage and extent of the FSA’s and the FSA specific requirements, have not been included in this Transition Template. However, forensic units must review these and ensure that they are compliant with all relevant requirements.

Example 1

Example clause Example change in requirement Major or Minor Please detail the action taken to ensure compliance Please state the file name(s) of documentation supplied as evidence of compliance, that has been attached to the supporting documents tab
Example Example Major Technical Leads have reviewed the new requirement and have provided feedback on the impact in relation to their areas (see attached collation of responses from Technical Leads). {Collation of responses from Technical Leads}
Where it has been identified that additional detail is needed to ensure compliance this has been included in related procedures (see 12.6 of SOP 42; and 13.4 of SOP 26). {SOP 42} {SOP 26}
Staff have been made aware of the changes at recent departmental meetings (see attached minutes of meeting held on 3/3/23). {Minutes of meeting held on 3/3/23}
Adherence to this new requirement has been added to checklists for related internal audits going forward (see example checklist for next audit). {Audit Checklist}
Example Example Minor This is an expansion of an existing requirement that is addressed in QMS procedure QP 204 clause 3.2. Additional detail has been added to the clause to ensure that this aspect is also considered when reviewing responses. {QP 204}
See updated clause 3.2 of QP 204.