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Laboratory Auditing and Accreditation: A CD-Based Workshop

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This CD-ROM discusses the steps for accreditation for crime laboratories.
Accreditation is formal assessment and recognition by an impartial competent authority that a laboratory is capable of meeting and maintaining defined standards of performance, competence, and professionalism. There is a need for accreditation because of the demand from users for proof of performance, the trend to regulation, and the value of objective recognition of performance. Accreditation brings national and international recognition for the quality of work a laboratory provides. The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) provides programs for accreditation to improve the quality of laboratory services provided to the criminal justice system, and develop and maintain criteria that can be used by a laboratory to improve level of performance and strengthen operations. The objectives are also to provide an independent, impartial, and objective system by which laboratories can benefit from a total operational review; and offer the public and users of laboratory services a means to identify laboratories that have met these standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 is the standard for accreditation of testing laboratories. The accreditation process begins with an assessment and audit of the laboratory. Considerations are employee participation in role, workload, and frustrations. The timeline varies -- a medium-size laboratory takes 2 years to get ready for accreditation. The accreditation cycle involves understanding the standard, establishing an accreditation team, performing an initial internal audit, writing a Quality Manual, implementing corrective actions needed, and performing pre-accreditation. Further information is provided on understanding the accreditation program, audit, information gathering, and when things seem wrong. Also discussed further is how to write a Quality Manual and dealing with major problems. Resources are included.

Date Published: January 1, 2001