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.
Florida International University (FIU) and NFSTC announce that they are joining forces to make a bigger impact in the field of forensic science. The partnership will expand the university’s diverse offerings and bring NFSTC’s training excellence to a broader audience in the U.S. and around the world.
A 22-year old non-profit, NFSTC will retain its mission of providing forensic science training, support and technology evaluations to military and law enforcement agencies, forensic science practitioners and crime laboratories worldwide. It will also remain at its current location in West Central Florida, where NFSTC has state-of-the-art laboratories and training facilities.
“NFSTC has a vision to bring quality forensic services from the crime scene through to the courtroom. We have trained hundreds of professionals in the skills needed to provide these services,” says CEO Kevin Lothridge. “We are looking forward to working even more closely with FIU’s International Forensic Research institute to elevate education and practice worldwide.”
The International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) at FIU is world-renowned for its research and education in furthering the field of forensic science. Both IFRI and NFSTC have missions that are
complementary and provide scientific expertise to the law enforcement, defense and legal communities, as well as continuing education and advanced training to practicing scientists.
For Kenneth G. Furton, FIU’s Provost and Executive Vice President, an analytical chemist who founded IFRI 20 years ago, this partnership is especially exciting. “Industry-university collaborations are crucial for the 21st century and forensic science is a discipline that has real world implications and applications,”
he says. “Together, we not only have an opportunity to broaden NFSTC’s services globally, but now our faculty and students will work with NFSTC and their partners to get their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.”
Details are expected to be finalized by the end of 2017.
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.