For the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), ‘quality’ means supplying its clients with the products and services they require – quickly, accurately and in a form that can be easily used. Naturally, these products and services are firmly grounded in the NFI’s commitment to the highest levels of objectivity and scientific integrity.
Since the forensic information supplied by the NFI may be called upon to play a key part in the criminal legal process, its reliability must be demonstrably beyond question. To ensure this, the NFI works with an externally accredited quality management system.
Quality management systems and reports
The quality management system requires the NFI to work in accordance with specified procedures and methods. It covers the whole process: from the receipt of a client’s request right through to the NFI’s report on its findings. The cornerstone of this system is the detailed reporting of all activities. Any deviations from the specified process are identified and registered, as are the measures taken to remedy them.
This rigorous procedure enables the NFI to ensure that its final products, as sent to the client, can be relied upon in court.
Accreditation and audits
The NFI quality management system is accredited by an independent body, the Dutch Accreditation Council. The NFI has been accredited by the Council in a number of fields since 1994 (under no. L146), based on ISO/IEC-17025. The fields for which the NFI is accredited can be found on the Council’s website.
Each year, the Council conducts an external audit to check that the NFI still meets the requirements for accreditation. The NFI also carries out its own annual internal audits and management reviews, and regularly requests additional reviews by partner institutions. Furthermore, the NFI takes part in external bench-marking surveys to measure its performance against that of other laboratories.
Scientific and legal quality
Finally, the scientific and legal content of the NFI’s forensic investigations is subjected to regular testing and review to ensure that it is fully up to date.