» Call for Expressions of Interest – SARCs

28 August, 2019

Call for Expressions of Interest - Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service is proposing to establish a project to develop accreditation for Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to ISO 15189:2012 – Medical Laboratories— Requirements for quality and competence; ILAC G19: 2014 Modules in Forensic Science and to the Forensic Science Regulators Codes of Practice (FSR) Standard FSR-C-116. Additional guidance can be found in FSR-G-212.

The international standard ISO 15189 specifies general requirements for competence and quality that are particular to medical laboratories. SARC services are essential to patient care and therefore have to be available to meet the needs of all patients and the clinical personnel responsible for the care of those patients. Such services include arrangements for the examination requests, patient preparation, collection of samples, transport, storage, examination of patient and collection of clinical samples, together with subsequent interpretation, reporting and advice, in addition to the considerations of safety and ethics.

The Forensic Science Regulator Code of Practice details the specific forensic requirements of these dedicated services providing high quality healthcare alongside forensic medical examination. The importance of correct collection of evidence, avoidance of contamination, and continuity ensuring the best outcome for evidence protection, has considerable benefits for the health and well-being and delivery of justice for patients and the community.

As part of a development programme for areas new to accreditation, UKAS will run a pilot project and is inviting expressions of interest from organisations operating Sexual Assault Referral Centres that wish to seek accreditation for this activity. The initial scope to include the taking of forensic medical samples, maintenance of a chain of continuity, and avoidance of contamination but this can be broadened out at a later stage.

We would also like to invite any other interested parties such as stakeholders or experts who would be interested in being involved in this project as part of the steering and technical group and/or acting as a technical assessor. A technical assessor would be part of the UKAS assessment team who will assist in the assessment of a SARCs competence and compliance to the relevant standards.

Those organisations that have sent an expression of interest for the pilot project will be invited to attend the meeting of interested parties (Likely to be early 2020) where the terms of the project will be discussed along with a proposed timeline for key stages and any phased approach process that is deemed necessary.

Those who wish to express an interest to participate in the pilot programme are requested to contact Emily Robinson (DevelopmentEnquiries@ukas.com) by 31st January 2020 including the following information:

  • Name of Organisation
  • Whether your interest is in participation in the steering committee, acting as an assessor and and/or as a potential pilot project applicant
  • Status of any current accreditation or certification
  • The type of service activity which you provide and would be interested in being covered by ISO 15189:2012 accreditation.

Please note that submitting an expression of interest does not indicate any commitment to participate in the project on the part of the interested parties and nor does the acceptance of an expression of interest commit UKAS to accept the interested party on to the pilot project. A decision on participation will be made once applications have been received.