The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) have signed a joint working agreement, which aims to ensure better regulation by further improving efficiencies and reducing burden.
This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlines a clear framework for joint work, including conducting joint inspections at mortuaries that are inspected by both the HTA and UKAS. Collaborating in this way promises to strengthen the work of both organisations.
HTA's Director of Regulation, Sarah Bedwell, said: “We hugely welcome this agreement, as it wholeheartedly reflects our commitment to working effectively and efficiently, supporting innovation, and reducing regulatory burden where it is safe and proportionate to do so.
“The MoU will mean we can streamline processes and avoid unnecessary duplication between organisations, while continuing to ensure that human tissue is used safely, ethically and with proper consent, and maintaining public confidence in post mortem services.”
UKAS’ Business Development & Technical Director, Lorraine Turner said: “In addition to providing confidence in an organisation’s competence and integrity, one of the main benefits of accreditation is to minimise duplication of assessment. We are so pleased to be working with the HTA to minimise the burden of assessment on mortuaries.”
- As part of the efficiency review in July 2013, the Justin McCracken Report recommended closer working arrangements between the HTA and UKAS/CPA (part of UKAS since 2009). Recommendation 18 of the McCracken Report states: "The HTA should prioritise its collaborative work with Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) to eliminate any duplication in the inspection activities of the two bodies by the end of the current financial year."
- After a successful pilot project, we and UKAS held our first joint inspection in July 2014 and have continued to conduct joint inspections since.
- The MoU will benefit organisations whose activities include mortuary services, and that are subject to site-visit inspection by the HTA and assessment by UKAS. It relates only to HTA regulatory activity in the post mortem sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the UK. Its role is to check that organisations providing conformity assessment services such as certification, testing, inspection and calibration services, are meeting a required standard of performance. The assessment criteria used by UKAS are internationally recognised as being the best indicators of accurate, impartial and consistent performance. UKAS accreditation demonstrates an organisation’s competence, impartiality and performance capability against internationally recognised standards.
- The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licenses and inspects organisations that remove, store and use tissue for medical treatment, post-mortem examination and teaching. HTA sets standards that licensed establishments must meet on: consent; governance and quality systems; premises, facilities and equipment; and disposal. Compliance with these standards demonstrates that statutory and regulatory requirements are met.