29th February 2024
You’re probably aware that the Forensic Science Regulator, Gary Pugh, has been working on a new statutory code of practice for forensic science. Consultation for the Code closed at the end of October 2022 and it’s expected that the Code will be approved by Parliament during the first quarter of 2023. The Code will come fully into effect six months later.
The Code will be a significant step forward in the way forensic science is held accountable and meets the Regulator’s requirements for quality. The FCN has been working with police forces to make sure they are ready to meet the challenge.
The Senior Accountable Individual
In late November we supported a College of Policing session for senior police leaders. A panel comprising Forensic Science Regulator Gary Pugh, NPCC Forensic Lead Chief Constable Nick Dean, and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) Accreditation Director Lorraine Turner considered:
- the Forensic Science Regulator Act 2021 and the statutory Code
- the need for leadership to achieve and maintain compliance with the statutory code across all forensic science activities
- the role of the senior accountable individual
- demonstrating compliance via UKAS accreditation
The session was attended by over 160 senior leaders and there was particular emphasis on the role of the ‘Senior Accountable Individual’ – someone who may not play a part in the day-to-day delivery of forensic services, but who is in a position of overall responsibility. The Regulator has stressed the importance of that person focussing on a proactive approach to accreditation, quality and compliance in order to mitigate against potential failings.
The implementation of the Code raises many questions for forces. Some of those were brought up in the November session and we have compiled these, along with many others, in an FAQ document. Hopefully you will find answers to your questions and concerns in there. If you have an issue that isn’t covered, please get in touch. We can give you an expert response and also add your question to the document, so that other forces can benefit.
Do you need support?
So far the FCN has helped more than half of the police forces in the UK to prepare for accreditation assessments. We want you to succeed and our team of experienced experts is on hand to support you. Please get in touch if you need help, whether it’s clarification of a minor issue or a full review of your Quality Management System.