Quality management in forensic science: A closer inspection

Wim Neuteboom, Alastair Ross (Lead / Corresponding author), Lyndal Bugeja, Sheila Willis, Claude Roux, Kevin Lothridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


An international survey was conducted on the benefits and limitations of accreditation to ISO17025 in forensic science, and how quality management could be improved to reflect the complexities of the end-to-end process. The survey was in response to growing concern within the forensic science community that the standard ISO17025 (and ISO17020), which is the backbone of forensic science accreditation, does not have sufficient depth and reach to properly address the quality of both the inputs (crime scene traces) and outputs (e.g., opinions in a report) of forensic science. The survey was developed around three themes: (1) fitness for purpose, (2) competences and (3) education & training. It targeted directors and senior managers, including quality managers, of forensic science laboratories/facilities. The survey was developed by the research team and disseminated with the cooperation of the International Forensic Strategic Alliance (IFSA) and six regional Networks: the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), the European Network of Forensic Science institutes (ENFSI), the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Executive Committee (ANZFEC) (formerly SMANZFL), Acadamia Iberoamericana de Criminalistica Estudios Forenses (AICEF), Asian Forensic Sciences Network (AFSN) and Southern Africa Regional Forensic Science Network (SARFS). What emerged for each of the three themes of the survey are areas of concern where the forensic science community should reconsider its approach to quality management if it is to have continuing value and relevance into the future. The results are evaluated and discussed. Briefly, the results include evidence of a lack of fitness for purpose of ISO17025 as a standard for the forensic science continuum, a lack of agreement on what forensic science is and poor levels of recognition of crime scene investigation, many competences, particularly cognitive competences, are not identified, monitored or assessed and the incentive to gain accreditation and maintain continuous improvement is intrinsic rather than customer driven.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111779
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Early online date4 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jul 2023


  • Quality management
  • Fit for purpose
  • Competences
  • Education & training


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