Forensic Science Regulator
The Forensic Science Regulator (the Regulator) is run through the Home Office. The Regulator is a public appointee whose function is to ensure that the provision of forensic science services across the criminal justice system is subject to an appropriate regime of scientific quality standards.
The Forensic Science Regulator
The Forensic Science Regulator, Andrew Rennison, was appointed by the Home Secretary in 2007 and took up the post of Regulator in February 2008. His brief is to set, monitor and maintain quality standards in forensic science provision. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredits against International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 17025 and 17020 and this is seen as an integral part of the quality framework and an expectation for those supplying forensic science services to the police and the Criminal Justice System.
As well as being concerned with scientific quality standards, Andrew Rennison is also concerned with the processes used within organisations and their potential impact upon quality. This concern extends to the use of new techniques and to the competence of individual practitioners.
Supporting the Regulator
The Forensic Science Society fully supports the work of the Regulator and, as the professional body for forensic practitioners’, the Society complements his work within the forensic arena as a whole. As evidence of this support the Society’s Membership and Ethics Committee applies stringent criteria in its various categories of membership and the Society has made Continuing Professional Development (CPD) an expectation of all professional members and specifically a requirement for Chartered Forensic Practitioner Status. In addition, endorsement of individual competence through assessment and peer review or via employer statement is a pre-requisite for Chartered Status. The Society’s conference programme regularly updates members on technological advances and developments in forensic casework and case-law in the belief that competent practice is founded upon up-to-date knowledge and skills. The Forensic Science Society’s technical component standards have for many years enhanced the quality of education in forensic science so that professionalism is promoted from the very early stages.
The majority of professionals who are interested in furthering their careers are members of their professional body whether they work for the main providers or as sole practitioners. However, no matter where they work, the Society’s rules and standards do not negate the need for organisations (regardless of size) to be fully UKAS accredited in accordance with the Regulator’s quality framework. Indeed, not only must systems and processes be quality compliant but also individuals must be competent.
Working with the Regulator
The roles of both the Regulator and the Forensic Science Society are crucial to ensuring quality for the Criminal Justice System overall. The President of the Forensic Science Society sits on the Forensic Science Advisory Council and members of the Society sit on Specialist Groups such as the DNA Analysis, the Digital Forensics and the Quality Standards Specialist Groups. Click here for more information
Research and Development in Forensic Science: a Review
In January 2011, Professor Bernard Silverman, Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser, was commissioned by Home Office ministers to conduct a review of research and development relevant to forensic science.
This review, conducted by the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser, demonstrates the very wide range of research and development relevant to forensic science, carried out by forensic science providers, universities, and laboratories associated with Government. The review was informed by widespread consultation, with over 80 respondents, including over 40 universities identifying research relevant to forensic science. The review makes recommendations to policy makers and others in the forensic science community, particularly underlining the crucial role that representative organisations and learned and professional societies have in providing a forum for the communication, development and validation of ideas, to act as advocates and representatives of the field, and be a focus for the relevant research and development communities.
Date: Thu Jun 30 11:24:49 BST 2011