2Asking the Right Question The temptation is to begin with the question ‘How do I get my lab accredited?’The better question to ask is ‘Why should I get my lab accredited?’Ensuring the proper focus helps lab management make better decisionsAsking the Right Question
3The value of accreditation The importance of demonstrating that all forensic services are provided in accordance with accepted standards has increased in recent years. Accreditation provides that essential, external, independent review. Accreditation increases the level of confidence for customers and all interested parties in the work and work product of the laboratory.The value of accreditation
4Accreditation: procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a lab is competent to carry out specified tasksAccreditation body: organization conducting and administering an accreditation system and granting accreditationCertification: refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit – in the forensic community this is most frequently focused on the individual (e.g. ABC, IAI)Vocabulary
5Other Communities using accreditation UniversitiesU.S. Department of Education has a listing of both Institutional Accreditation and Specialized Accreditation (e.g. Law, Nursing, Speech Therapy)HospitalsIn order to receive reimbursement for Medicare and MedicaidLaw enforcementCALEA (one example)Electrical productsUnderwriters Laboratories (one example)Other Communities using accreditation
6Why accreditation? National and international recognition For example: why did you encourage your kids to pursue a degree? And why did you consider one school over another?For example: if you need a medical procedure, how do you evaluate the hospital or doctor?Proactive management process (e.g. documenting policies and procedures, performing internal audits, annual management review, proficiency testing personnel)Community creditability and public confidenceDeveloping an internal culture of quality and understandingWhy accreditation?
7ISO = International Organization for Standardization (not an acronym) www.iso.org From the Greek ISOS ( ΙΣΩΣ ) which means equalOrganization which publishes over 19,000 standards and guidelinesFrom manufacturing and healthcare to space vehicles and railwaysDocuments available for purchase in the USA fromIn many countries accreditation is government based and mandatoryIn the USA there are only seven states with legislated accreditation for forensic labs: TX, OK, NY, MO, NC, MD, MN (FYI - TX requires accreditation for both public and private forensic labs)Why ISO?
8Who monitors the accreditation bodies? Voluntary regional ‘recognition’ processAPLAC (Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation)EA (European Accreditation Cooperation)IAAC (Inter American Accreditation Cooperation)SADCA (South African Development Community Accreditation)Using ISO/IEC for evaluationWho monitors the accreditation bodies?
9And who sets the standards for these regional bodies? ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation)Based in AustraliaPublishes ILAC G19  for the forensic community [free PDF resource]Developed a helpful brochure to better understand accreditation: content/uploads/2013/05/Why-become-an-acredited- lab.pdfPosted a useful video:And who sets the standards for these regional bodies?
10ASCLD/LAB has been recognized by ILAC since 2009
11Will accreditation prevent personnel problems and mischief? Unfortunately noBut it makes it much more likely that someone or a monitoring action will proactively identify these departures BEFORE they become catastrophicThis entire process is focused on developing a ‘culture of quality’ for both management and technical personnelSimilar to ‘how does a community develop a positive relationship with law enforcement?’ It takes time and requires the development of trust and respectWill accreditation prevent personnel problems and mischief?
12How to begin . . . Obtain a copy of the accreditation requirements For ASCLD/LAB this would be ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 and the appropriate set of Supplemental RequirementsSeek training to get a better picture of what the requirements mean and how the process worksLocate a mentor or partner organization so you don’t have to reinvent the wheelObserving an internal audit in an accredited lab may provide a better picture of what needs to be done to prepareBegin the application processThere are many steps on the pathHow to begin . . .
13Basic Structure of the program ISO/IEC 17025Section 4 - Management focus15 subsectionsSection 5 – Technical requirements10 subsectionsASCLD/LAB – International Supplemental RequirementsForensic specific requirements developed by the forensic science communityEstablished using requirements originally developed and continually improved since 1982One program for forensic science testing and one for breath alcohol calibrationBasic Structure of the program
14More information – Section 4 ComplaintsControlling nonconforming testing and/or calibration workImprovementCorrective actionPreventive actionControl of recordsInternal auditsManagement reviewOrganizationManagement systemDocument controlReview of requests, tenders and contractsSubcontractingPurchasing services and suppliesService to the customerMore information – Section 4
15More information – section 5 General technical requirementsPersonnelAccommodations and environmental conditionsTest methodsEquipmentMeasurement traceabilitySamplingHandling of test itemsAssuring the quality of test resultsTest reportsMore information – section 5
16How to prepare Completing a conformance file Performing an internal audit before making applicationCompleting a full management review before applicationCompiling all required information for the applicationPreparing staff and managementThe assessment process is conducted by peers – not easily bluffedRemember to breatheHow to prepare
17The right perspective The process is about improvement Not focused on ‘find the problem’Focus is ‘confirm conformance’Plan > Do > Check > ActDeming’s wheel of continuous improvementAlso – this process is more than ‘once and done’Monitoring activities are included in the accreditation processAnnual proficiency testing, annual audit, annual management review, performance declaration report, on-site surveillance visitsReaccreditation every four yearsThe right perspective
19Why choose ASCLD/LAB? Laser focus on forensic science community Not distracted by competing priorities and multiple business modelsLongest running forensic science accreditation program in the worldCenturies of experience provided by the permanent staff of ASCLD/LABCurrent staff:Forensic scientists serve as our volunteer technical assessorsWhy choose ASCLD/LAB?
20Credentials of the ASCLD/LAB Decision making body Board of DirectorsNot bureaucratic paper pushersActual forensic laboratory directors, criminal justice representatives and scientific academiciansVolunteers for four yearsCurrent Board:Credentials of the ASCLD/LAB Decision making body
21Helpful clarifications When needed ASCLD/LAB provides clarifications and interpretations for the communitylab.org/ascldlab- international-testing- program-board- interpretations/Helpful clarifications
22Resources www.ascld-lab.org www.afqam.org www.ascld.org www.iso.org Website information and training resourcesAnnual meeting for quality manager networkingAnnual meeting for lab director networkingResources and informationResources and guidance documentsResources
23American Society of crime laboratory directors, laboratory accreditation board - ascld/lab 139J Technology DriveGarner, NC 27529Main