We know securing a quality QAS audit is critical for your DNA work, now and into the future. When hiring an audit team, here are our top recommendations to ensure the work is done properly:
Plan ahead: Initiate the procurement process early enough to leave at least two months of planning time between the purchase order or contract and the date of the audit. This allows time for team selection, laboratory review of the auditors’ qualifications, arrangements for reasonably priced airfare, and to compile and send materials for audit team review at least two weeks prior to arrival.
Communicate: Let the auditing body know up front if the audit will be grant funded so Federal requirements/restrictions can be taken into account (GSA rates, residency restrictions, etc.).
Consider providing validation summaries in advance: The validation landscape has changed significantly and validation studies vary quite a bit in size, scope, and complexity. Reviewing summaries ahead of time reduces required time on site, and potentially overall cost.
NFSTC is teaming up with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) for a new partnership to expand forensic service accreditation in international settings. This combination of NFSTC’s international business reach and ANAB’s accreditation expertise will bring the best knowledge and practice to laboratories outside the United States.
NFSTC is currently working with crime laboratories and crime scene professionals from Central America to improve practice and expand DNA analysis capabilities through training and consulting. This work, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Portions of the work include preparation for accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 and ISO/IEC 17025, the international standards for bodies performing inspection and for testing and calibration laboratories, respectively.
This new partnership with ANAB will bring top-notch accreditation training, preparations and assessments to these laboratories. ANAB’s training will provide practitioners with thorough knowledge of standards and practice, and produce skilled local auditors who can continue to monitor and assess the laboratories.
Achieving forensic laboratory accreditation involves a significant investment by the communities and professionals involved. Once accredited, the laboratories will be recognized for their quality and serve to improve and lead the way for justice systems in Central America.
As of December 31, 2017, NFSTC will no longer provide DNA laboratory auditing services. NFSTC has been the top quality provider of DNA audits for 15 years and we are grateful for our many friends and customers in the DNA community.
Why the change? Over the past several years, NFSTC has experienced growth in many areas of our business, allowing us to provide more high-quality training, consulting and technology support to a wide variety of customers, including the Department of State and international agencies.
The good news is there are more audit providers now than ever before. Check with accrediting bodies and regional providers for the services you need.
If your laboratory is already scheduled for an audit between now and the end of the year, that work will proceed with no changes. If you have questions or concerns regarding this announcement, please contact us at email@example.com.
As your forensic resource, NFSTC will always keep up to date with DNA news. Follow us on social media or on our website at www.nfstc.org to stay abreast of forensic innovations and news.
This month’s Forensic Update brings you news about chemical testing innovations, scent preservation kits, and the development of a marijuana sobriety test.
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The intense 20-week DNA analyst training for 14 Central American students has concluded and participants are safely back in their home countries. On site since January, the students tackled techniques and protocols from bio-screening to trial presentation via a blended learning approach.
The students used our online DNA Training program to gain history and theoretical knowledge, followed by hands-on instruction and practice in every step of DNA analysis. NFSTC provided Spanish-speaking instructors and an interpreter to assist at every level, ensuring quality training regardless of language barriers.
Five countries, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama, each sent two or three representatives. Each laboratory faces its own set of obstacles, but thorough training and consistent knowledge will help build capacity, moving towards accreditation, and support justice initiatives moving forward.