Standards Checklists are now available for download on the Standards Resources and Training page of the AAFS website. These resources are being made available as part of a Cooperative Agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This partnership is designed to support implementation efforts and broaden awareness of forensic science standards among communities of interest. Standards Factsheets, which provide a concise summary of forensic science standards, are also available. These highlight the purpose of a standard, benefits of adoption, and key elements of the standard using language that is understandable to the lay person.
Checklists provide a tool that allow a forensic science service provider to evaluate the level of standard implementation and/or audit conformance to a given standard. "Checklists will be a great resource to the forensic science community," said Sarah Kerrigan, Chair of the NIST-AAFS Presidential Ad Hoc Committee. "Organizations have been developing checklists in-house for some time. This initiative with NIST allows the AAFS to provide a resource that eliminates redundancy and delivers a uniform tool that directly benefits the forensic community."
Laurel Farrell, former Chair of the Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science and retired Senior Director of Accreditation for forensic programs of ANAB, directed the checklist initiative. "This was truly a collaboration between the AAFS, NIST's OSAC program, Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers (AFQAM), and numerous operational forensic science service providers that participated in the beta testing of the checklist this summer," said Farrell. The Excel-based checklists have a standardized format that also allows flexibility when used. Instructions and use of the checklists will be featured in a half-day workshop at the upcoming AFQAM Training Conference in Lake Tahoe in October.
Instructions for use and an instructional video are available now on the Standards Checklist page. Thirty-six checklists are currently available and more will be added each month. The strategy for development is two-fold: (1) developing checklists for the most widely implemented standards, and (2) trying to provide the resource to the community soon after a standard has been added to the OSAC Registry. Individuals or organizations interested in using this tool can subscribe to AAFS updates to ensure they have the most current version of checklists and receive notifications when new ones become available.
"These tools, training, and resources are available on the Academy website at no cost to the user," said Donna Grogan, Executive Director of AAFS. They are available to Academy members and the public as part of the Cooperative Agreement.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.