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Quality assurance

We are committed to providing high-quality science and services, and state this fact in our values. Demonstrating that commitment, to meet customers' requirements at the highest level, we hold a number of accreditations and certificates of quality.

Following assessments by inspectors from the Department of Health and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) we maintain our accredited laboratory status and certification in the following areas:

  • ISO 17020
    Aquatic Health and Hygiene inspection service
  • ISO 17025
    Chemical analysis
    Fish health
    Microbiological food safety
    Otolith-age reading
    Phytoplankton analysis
    Radioanalytical testing on environmental samples
  • ISO 14001
    Certification to the Environmental Management System
  • ISO 9001
    Certification for our Applied Technology, IT Services, Regulatory Assessments and Electronics groups
  • OHSAS 18001: 2007
    Occupational health and safety management systems
  • Good Laboratory Practice Regulations 1999

We operate as an Environment Agency MCERTS-approved laboratory for Direct Toxicity Assessment testing, which determines the overall toxic effect of contaminants in effluent samples. Other services are quality assured using external testing schemes such as:

  • BEQUALM: set quality standards for a wide range of biological effects techniques
  • NMBAQC: provides assessment of marine biological data contributing to national or European monitoring programmes
  • Quasimeme: open to scientists worldwide who conduct chemical measurements, and organisations that analyse for statutory monitoring programmes.

Where necessary, all supporting activities are governed by standard operating procedures and desk instructions to ensure continuity in the work we deliver and the advice we ultimately provide.

We are committed to the continual improvement of our science. Our research work for Defra, the Food Standards Agency, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the National Environment Research Council complies with the Joint Code of Practice for Research.

A number of our advisory processes are currently applying for procedural certification. In addition, those individuals engaged in the provision of regulatory advice are affiliated with a number of professional bodies, such as IMarEST, to ensure the skills and experience which they bring to the advisory process are recognised by their peers in the scientific community and by industry.

For more about our European Community-wide and UK Reference Laboratory designations, covering specific disciplines, see our Laboratories section.

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Last Modified: 27 April 2014