AMEC’s Analytical Services laboratories has achieved UKAS Flexible Scope accreditation for the determination of tritium by pyrolysis. This is the first time that a radioanalytical laboratory has achieved accreditation in flexible scope.
Flexible scope means that a far wider range of sample types can be reported as UKAS accredited. It is often a regulatory requirement for Analytical Services clients that test results are accredited to ISO 17025. Without flexible scope, any new sample type has to be submitted individually for UKAS audit and approval, a process that can take many months. With flexible scope, UKAS can audit the validation process for new sample types at their routine annual audit, i.e. without special applications being made. This obviously can speed up the process enormously, and gives us the capability to provide our clients with the accredited result in the time frame required.
This does not mean that short cuts are taken. All necessary validation work must be done, written up and be ready for UKAS audit. What it does mean is that we have demonstrated to UKAS that we have the technical ability and procedural rigour to produce data that is valid and technically defensible without having to await the formal accreditation processes with every new sample type. For our clients this will help tackle the problem of unusual and / or complex sample matrices. It simplifies the decisions that need to be made and is a catch all procedure.
It’s a simple process; the technical and quality team asses the sample matrix suitability for testing under the existing methods. If it is considered that the sample matrix can be tested using existing methods, the work is then accepted and the client is informed that the results will be reported as accredited to the ISO 17025 standard. The process that follows is the usual testing regime but additional measures are taken to ensure that a higher degree of scrutiny is assigned to the work from the acceptance of the sample until beyond the reporting of the result. All work performed under flexible scope must follow strict procedure to demonstrate this and each item will be audited in isolation and in addition to the routine annual audit schedule.