ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New Job

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Tinyfred

Hi All, (WARNING - It's Just taken me 20 minutes to work out how to post a new message, so that's the level of intuitiveness you are dealing with!!)

Here in the UK our Police forces are being faced with having to get their Forensic Lab functions accredited to ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) and Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement Labs). Much of this was previously done by outside agencies such as the Forensic Science Service which has now gone, and these were accredited to the standard - now that the separate Police areas are taking it on, the Forensic Science Regulator has deemed it mandatory to achieve accreditation by these dates, or else!

I think this is a very good thing. Because of the financial problems affecting all Police, they are being asked to save large amounts of money over the next few years, and this has resulted in neighbouring forces combining services. I am currently a Senior Fingerprint Expert employed by one such, and my job is going at the end of June as a result. I have, however, secured the newly created role of Quality Manager to ensure the smooth (!!?) transition to ISO 17025 accreditation for the combined Lab & DNA functions.

After 23 years in the narrow field of Fingerprints I am struggling to get my head around where to start in July - I get that the technical manager will be drawing up the SOPs and ensuring training and competency of staff, and that I will have to formulate a Quality Statement initially - my worry is how to even start the QMS itself. Just looking at all the spreadsheets, schedules and folders of paperwork for what is in place for our ISO 9001 certification sends my head spinning. There is much good advice saying you will need to set up this, that & the other, but even these guides are daunting to a newbie. Are software options worth looking into for help with automatic reminders, scheduling of audits etc.

I guess i am just wondering if my mindset is up to the plate juggling needs of this new role - you all have my genuine admiration if you are keeping all the balls in the air. Does anyone remember similar experiences, or been through a similar career change?

All encouragement and direction greatly received......:thanks:
 

Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
Re: New Job - Quality Manager - Help!!!

I would start at the basics and work your way up. Get the standard that you will be working with. Read it (don't take notes the first read through, just read it), get a basic understanding of what it says.

This will get you started. The hardest part will be the 'first big step'. After your first read through the standard, give it a day to sink in, then read it again. This time taking notes on what it is saying you have to do. Setup a priority, start working the things that make sense. As you finish each step, you will find you know more about the standard then you did when you started "that step". Do the things that make sense and don't be afraid to ask questions. I believe you will find that the more you work with the standard, the more it becomes clear, but you have to start with something that makes sense to begin with.

Those are my :2cents::2cents:
 

yodon

Leader
Super Moderator
Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Michael M gave some excellent advise. I would add that it's never a bad time to start understanding your processes. Knowing who does what, what records are kept (and how records are kept), who are "providers" and who are "consumers," etc. is always a good place to start. Start at a high level and then start building up the detail as you go. Basic tools like flow charts can be helpful.

One key to having a good quality system is to align how you normally do business with the desired standard. Standards are generally based on sound business models so you generally shouldn't see a lot of disruptive transformations (presuming your labs are currently being operated based on sound principles).

The folks here in the Cove are quite helpful so when you bump into something you can't readily resolve, come on back.
 
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Tinyfred

Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Thanks guys - you're right, it has gradually got clearer in the last month, and I guess when I start to get my teeth into the job it will allay many fears.
 

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Leader
Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Have you considered project management software? Years ago I used to use Microsoft's "Project" software. These days there are some alternatives which are probably as good. I'm a Mac person and it's been years since Microsoft had "Project" for the Mac, but I was looking at some project management software and there are a few Mac programs and I know at least one reads and writes MS Project files. I think it is about US$100 but I can't think of the program name off hand.

For a project of this size and complexity I'd be looking at some sort of software specific to project management both for planning and to keep track of everything.
 
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Tinyfred

Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Interesting you should say that Marc, I had been wondering myself.

All the computers at work are microsoft based, although I also prefer a mac for personal use. The biggest problem would be getting new software approved by a Police IT dept., but I will definitely check it out - there may even be one available in such a large organisation already, which I have been unaware of due to not requiring it.

Amazing site by the way - great to have access to all that experience out there.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Moved for greater visibility from folks experienced with ISO/IEC 17025.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Tinyfred, it is good you have obtained the standard and read it. Police labs in the US are being required to become accredited. Texas and Arizona come to mind.

One thing you need to do, as you earlier mentioned ISO9001, is to compare the two standards. You will note that in the quality realm ISO/IEC 17025 some Clauses are more detailed. Also, Section 5 is focused on technical. The assessment for accreditation is different than an ISO9001 audit also. Accreditation requires demonstration to establish competency as it is known, which means your folks know what they are doing, and not just filling a checklist really well.

One thing you may want to do early on is to contact UKAS (your National accrediting body) and see if they offer training in ISO/IEC 17025, uncertainty of measurement, and similar related topics. Also, get any materials they may provide such as guides and so forth.

And post questions here.

Hope this helps.
 

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Leader
Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

Interesting you should say that Marc, I had been wondering myself.

All the computers at work are microsoft based, although I also prefer a mac for personal use. The biggest problem would be getting new software approved by a Police IT dept., but I will definitely check it out - there may even be one available in such a large organisation already, which I have been unaware of due to not requiring it. <snip>
I did consulting work for many years so I typically had my own computer and software, but I did quite a few contract jobs where a computer was furnished where I got permission to bring in my own computer (in the early days I lugged a Mac LCII and small monitor around in a special case, and in the later days a laptop, of course). Considering your situation that probably isn't an option.

I was looking at your situation and, making some assumptions about the size and complexity of the tasks you face, I brought up project management software. It can be invaluable in keeping track of everything, especially if (when) things tend to lag or go off track. Project management software saved my :ca: many times when the powers above me asked what was happening, why we were behind (or ahead) of schedule and such.

If your project is as big as it sounds (not to mention the time frame), I personally wouldn't do it without using some sort of project management software.
 
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JodiB

Re: ISO 17025 By Nov 2013 (DNA Swabbing) & Nov 2015 (Fingerprint Enhancement) - New J

I'm in the same boat with you Tinyfred, but on a more aggressive timeline. I was brought into this role a few months ago and we're looking at next summer for accreditation. I'm not an expert on the standard and have never worked in a lab other than chemistry courses back in college. Fortunately I'm familiar with ISO 9001 so this is not completely foreign.

The starting point for me was to read, read, read, the Standard and attend an Internal Audit course. I now have a really good understanding of what we have to do , and simply have to start plugging those things in. We're starting from scratch for almost all of this. I put together several Excel worksheets where I listed the new processes we need, the new procedures we need, etc. Some of them are redundant but they helped me to gather my thoughts. They also provide a visual for the laboratory managers to see what we have to do so that they can be working towards them.

Beyond educating yourself, you need to have your laboratory managers educated. They should also attend a 17025 course so that they can more easily identify the gaps for you. If you can attend the same course, that would be best so that you can discuss the day's topics later over dinner and set your game plan for when you return to the office.
 
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