» Call for Expressions of Interest – ISO/IEC 17020 – Accreditation for Forensic Casework Review – Dry Run participants

24 May, 2018

Following the initial expression of interest call (see below) for organisations/individuals undertaking a review of complete forensic casework, UKAS held a meeting with interested parties in June 2017 who carried out defence work in the DNA/Body fluid area. The meeting was designed to stimulate participation in a pilot study to confirm the appropriateness of ISO/IEC 17020 and UKAS assessment approach. With the view that successful participants would gain accreditation to ISO 17020 for the activity of case review at the end of the pilot.

As the Forensic Science Regulator reported in her annual report, some organisations were wary of participating in a pilot accreditation scheme when it is not yet certain that ISO 17020 will be the standard required by the regulator. As a result, insufficient numbers registered for the pilot. In consultation with the Forensic Science Regulator, it has been agreed to undertake a ‘dry run’ exercise, such that participating organisations will be assessed free of charge, but the outcome will not be formal accreditation. This exercise will enable the costs and suitability of accreditation to ISO 17020 to be evaluated, without the financial risk for participants.

UKAS is therefore looking for a small number of organisations to participate in a ‘dry run’ exercise for the review of DNA/Body fluid case work. If you are interested in participating please register your interest with Emily Robinson (emily.robinson@ukas.com) at UKAS by the 15th June 2018.

 

Participants in the dry run exercise will be required to have at least the following in draft form for dry run visits later in the year:

  • Quality Management System
  • Gap analysis against ISO/IEC 17020
  • Procedures for case review
  • Training and Competency Criteria for staff involved in review
  • Peer Review / Quality Assurance process

If you require any further information regarding the dry run exercise please contact David Compton (david.compton@ukas.com).

 

12 October, 2016

In order to support the Criminal Justice System (CJS) many organisations/individuals undertake a review of complete forensic casework.  Forensic casework review can be undertaken on behalf of the prosecution or the defence and includes:

  • Independent forensic review of current casework – forensic casefile review only
  • Independent forensic review of historical cases e.g. ‘cold cases’, – forensic casefile review only
  • Independent re-examination/re-analysis of case items by a Forensic Scientist at a location other than their own organisations site, e.g. at the original (or another) Forensic Science Provider’s site

 

Areas not included in this definition of Forensic Casework Review are:

  • Routine Peer Review undertaken as part of an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 process
  • Examination / analysis that would fall under ISO/IEC17025:2005

The Forensic Science Regulator has asked UKAS if we are able to offer ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation for this area of forensics.  As Forensic Casework Review is a new area of accreditation UKAS would like to gauge the likely level of interest there may be from organisations that carry out the above activities.  The level of interest will assist UKAS in determining the best way forward with a development project for this area.

As this is an initial announcement to gauge the demand please provide feedback to UKAS (alison.Severn@ukas.com) by the 18th November 2016.  Could you provide the following information:

  • Areas of casework review want to be accredited
  • Review of casefiles and reports at own premises
  • Review of casefiles and information at premises where original work was undertaken
  • Review of casefiles and re-inspection of items at premises where original work was undertaken
  • Review of historical casework
  • Re-examination of exhibits at own premises or other premises
  • Technical areas which are involved in casework review (e.g. DNA, Body Fluids, Tox, Digital Forensics) 

Please note if you are already participating in the small business forensic casework review project with the Charter Society for Forensic Science you do not need to register interest.