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Managing performance in the forensic sciences: expectations in light of limited budgets

NCJ Number
Hilton Kobus; Max Houck; Paul Speaker; Richard Riley; Tom Witt
Date Published

This paper discusses the disjunction between perceived and actual value for forensic services and the rationale for providers to evaluate, improve, and re-tool their processes toward continual improvement.




For forensic service providers worldwide, the demand for high-quality services greatly outpaces available resources to meet those requests. The gap between the demand for services and the resource-restricted supply of those services has implications for managing performance: the effectiveness and efficiency of forensic science. The effectiveness of forensic science is directly related to the quality of the scientific analysis and the timeliness with which that analysis is provided, while efficiency is associated with attempts to minimize costs without negatively impacting quality. An inevitable result of the demand and supply gap is a backlog that results in downstream effects on timeliness, service, and quality. One important strategy to respond to the demand-supply imbalance is continual process improvement. Collaborative benchmarking as a basis for process improvement is another approach. (Publisher abstract provided)