1st Edition

Forensic Science Laboratory Benchmarking The FORESIGHT Manual

By Max M. Houck, Paul J. Speaker Copyright 2024
    344 Pages 2 Color & 93 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    344 Pages 2 Color & 93 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    344 Pages 2 Color & 93 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Forensic Science Laboratory Benchmarking: The FORESIGHT Manual takes a step-by-step instructional approach to utilizing FORESIGHT data, detailing how labs can participate in the process to improve efficiencies. The FORESIGHT Project—a business benchmarking process for forensic service providers—was created in 2008 to collect and report data while offering improvement to processes through analysis, comparisons, and best practice evaluations. The program has grown to include more than 200 participating forensic laboratories worldwide.

    FORESIGHT offers the capability for labs to improve core functions, provide and benefit from metrics, and thus, improve the labs capabilities and functioning for the public good, while maintaining their often limited, fixed budgets. Due to ever-increasing caseloads, forensic laboratories are constantly plagued by backlogged casework—cases submitted to the laboratory but not yet worked. This leads to inefficiencies, delays, and unhappy agencies expecting timely results. Unfortunately, even if a lab’s slates were wiped clean and the backlog were erased, many of the inefficient processes—that created the backlog—would still be in place. Eventually, and inevitably, the lab would develop a new backlog.

    Unique coverage and features:

    • Presents critical and proven cutting-edge measures to utilize FORESIGHT data improve laboratory testing, operational efficiency, and policies without added additional costs.
    • Synthesizes the data input from more than 200 labs and a decade’s worth of analytics to illustrate process improvements and the advantages of participating.
    • Outlines how to develop data-driven responses to solve current and future problems.

    Forensic Science Laboratory Benchmarking will be of interest to quality assurance specialists, economists, supervisors in the parent agencies of the labs, managers at all levels of any of the hundreds of public laboratories around the world, and anyone concerned about the effectiveness and efficiency of laboratory testing. As an operational guide, the book provides a helpful roadmap to help public science agencies and forensic labs analyze how they operate, improve on what works, and change what doesn’t to better meet their mission and serve their community’s goals.

    1. Why You Should Read This Book  2. How Much Good Are You Doing?  3. Key Performance Indicators  4. Budgets  5. Performance Is Everything, But What Is It?  6. Strategy: Choosing What Not To Do  7. What Next?  8. Examples and Exercises


    Max M. Houck, PhD, FRSC is an international expert in the forensic sciences. Dr. Houck has nearly 30 years of expertise in casework, research, teaching, and writing. His casework includes the Branch Davidian Investigation, the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon, the D.B. Cooper case, and the West Memphis Three case, among hundreds of others. His committee work includes the White House, the National Academies of Science, the Royal Society, and Interpol. Dr. Houck is one of the most published professionals in his field. He is Editor in Chief of Forensic Science International: Synergy and an Editorial Board Member of Nature Scientific Reports and has also co-authored numerous books, including the best-selling textbooks, Fundamentals of Forensic Science, Science of Crime Scenes, and Successful Expert Testimony. Dr. Houck is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Paul J. Speaker, PhD, is a Finance Professor in the John Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University. He earned his MS Economics and PhD from Purdue University and a BA in Economics from LaSalle College. Dr. Speaker also holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of Forensic Science Management Consultants LLC, a firm which specializes in the business of forensics using the forensics of business. He serves as a member of NIJ’s Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group. Dr. Speaker is the Principal Investigator for Project FORESIGHT, a business-guided analysis of Forensic Science Laboratories. His research activity is concentrated in economic modeling, including the role of public sector and not-for-profit institutions. These research projects include numerous studies in the business of forensics, including estimation of the return on investment from forensic laboratory analyses.