Customer-Driven Standardization in the Forensic Science Market in England and Wales

Customer-Driven Standardization in the Forensic Science Market in England and Wales

Karen McGregor Richmond (University of Strathclyde, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9008-8.ch012

Abstract

This chapter aims to contribute to the nascent, but expanding, body of literature concerned with sociologies of standards and standardization. Specifically, this chapter focuses on the creation of standardized forensic “products” within the marketized forensic science sector in England and Wales. This “menu” of standardized forensic products emerged during a period of significant economic and organizational disruption. The implementation of these codified products created further tensions, demonstrating the unintended consequences, which may flow from incomplete application of standards, incomplete understanding of their effect, and the instrumental use of these same standards, not to achieve efficiencies or harmonization but to affect particular institutional goals, and which are not shared across the wider community of practice.
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Forensic Science Provision In England And Wales

The governance of the provision of forensic science services, and the organisational structure and management of individual forensic science laboratories, varies widely between different countries, regions and jurisdictions. Nonetheless, across this varied forensic landscape, providers face similar economic challenges. Commercial imperatives have intruded, to a greater or lesser extent, on scientific autonomy, with most forensic providers now recognising the need to demonstrate a willingness to embrace new management techniques, to internalise regulatory objectives, and to enter into rudimentary forms of competition. However, despite the increasing pressure of commercial imperatives, the overwhelming majority of developed countries still choose to deliver vital forensic services through a system of public provision.1 The current system of forensic science provision operating in England and Wales is therefore quite, exceptional, insofar as it is achieved through a system of marketised delivery.

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