Once a forensic science service provider (FSSP) is familiar with the standards it will be implementing, the next step is to develop a plan for how to incorporate them into your management system.
It is not necessary for FSSPs to implement all the standards listed on the OSAC Registry. There are several ways to add standards on the OSAC Registry to your quality management system documents. One way is to include a simple statement in the Quality Manual that states your organization has implemented all applicable standards on the OSAC Registry. Alternatively, FSSPs are free to list individual standards or applicable portions of standards on the OSAC Registry in their quality system documents (e.g., referencing specific standards in standard operating procedures). Sample language is available online in a detailed “How-to Guide” for OSAC Registry implementation prepared by OSAC’s FSSB Quality Task Group to help FSSPs with implementation of standards on the OSAC Registry. These guidelines include instructions on how to manage implementation of applicable portions, as well as entire standards.
The FSSPs that have implemented standards all have one thing in common – they have at least one champion advocating for the initiative! Good leadership is a requirement for success.
Identify the person or persons who will be given both the authority and the responsibility to administer the standards implementation process. Most often, the QA manager is that individual.
Identify a group who will be responsible for executing the program plan. Typically, this group consists of the QA manager and the technical leaders in each of the laboratory’s disciplines. The technical leaders must be responsible for meeting with the scientists in their respective sections and executing a gap analysis for those standards which apply to their section.
Perform a gap analysis to determine the requirements that your organization may already be meeting. This will require adequate time and resources to complete effectively. Depending on the size of the section and the number of standards applicable to the section, the technical leader must allocate a realistic timetable to complete the gap analysis and report back to the task group and the QA manager.
Divide tasks into smaller workable segments and provide adequate time and resources to succeed. Establishing a realistic timeline for implementation is important! For example, your organization may review the Registry each month for newly added standards and decide that if they’re applicable, you’ll work towards implementing them in one year.
Enlist the help of OSAC’s Implementer Cohort Task Group. Members consist of FSSPs who have experience implementing the accreditation standards (ISO/IEC 17025/17020) or discipline-specific standards on the OSAC Registry.