The UKAS Schedule of Accreditation details the scope of accreditation held by an organisation. For testing laboratories, the schedule includes columns that specify the materials/products that can be tested, the type of test and the equipment/technique used, and within these columns are listed the activities that have been assessed by UKAS and have subsequently been included in the scope of accreditation.
For toxicology testing the ‘market sector’ or purpose of the analysis is also a significant consideration, as this can may bring in specific sector requirements, for example, in relation to the analytical method and reporting. Consequently, the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation for organisations conducting toxicology testing also includes a reference to the sector/purpose of testing. This additional detail allows the laboratory’s customers and end-users of the testing services to identify whether the laboratory holds appropriate accreditation for the analysis that they require.
For organisations that are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation includes the detail relating to the market sector in a heading listed in the column for the ‘Type of Test’ which then relates to the activities that are listed below the heading. Some schedules of accreditation may include more than one heading if accreditation is held for more than one sector. The potential sectors that can be included are:
- Forensic Analysis
- Workplace Drugs Analysis
- Medical and Legal Analysis
For organisations that are accredited to ISO 15189 (medical laboratories) there is also the possibility that the schedule can include Therapeutic Drug Monitoring as part of the medical services undertaken by the organisation.
For an organisation to have ‘Forensic Analysis’ listed on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation the UKAS assessment will have included the requirements within ILAC G19 Modules in a Forensic Science Process. Therefore, if the outcome of the toxicology testing is required for forensic purposes, i.e. to potentially be used in the criminal justice system, the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation will include Forensic Analysis in the ‘Type of Test’ column.
Additionally, analysis undertaken for forensic purposes may be specific to certain types of legislation and in the following cases this will also be listed on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation:
- Detection and quantification of alcohol in relation to the Road Traffic Act
- Detection and quantitation of drugs in relation to Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended) and The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014
Within the forensic sector it is also possible for an organisation to demonstrate adherence to the Forensic Science Regulator’s Code of Practice. Where this is the case, this will be listed at the start of the forensic section on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation in the column headed ‘Standard specifications/ Equipment/Techniques used’.
The inclusion of the above aspects on the accreditation schedules of organisations that conduct toxicology testing is to enhance the clarity and transparency of the scope of accreditation held by an organisation to allow customers and end users to identify whether the organisation appropriately meets their needs.
Accredited organisations and customers of these laboratories should ensure that the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation includes the appropriate sector and therefore the specific requirements relating to that sector have been included in the UKAS assessment.
Accredited organisations are required, as part of their contract review processes, to ensure that the customer request for testing services is adequately defined and understood, for example, to include the sector / purpose of the testing and to determine if they have the capability to fulfil this requirement.
If you have any queries in relation to the above, please contact your UKAS Assessment Manager or Fran Bilby (UKAS Technical Focal Point for Toxicology) at [email protected].
Download a pdf copy of this Technical Bulletin here.