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Quality underpins all we do at DETS, and UKAS accreditation is the keystone to this. DETS are one of the most comprehensively accredited laboratories in the UK, and we are constantly working on new methods to add to our scope.

Our Quality team of 2 full time staff, assisted by the laboratory supervisors and analysts (8 are qualified internal auditors) to maintain and update all documentation, to monitor daily QC checks, and to implement improvements to the methods and systems, as part of our ongoing continuous improvement protocol, as defined in ISO 17025.

ISO 17025 : 2005 is the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories, and this covers all aspects of the complex and comprehensive requirements a laboratory must meet to successfully gain accreditation, including:

  • A quality manual, detailing all aspects of the organisation and responsible personnel
  • Standard Operating Procedures covering all methods and processes
  • Staff training and competency checks
  • Quality control, including proficiency testing
  • Continuous improvement
  • Contract review
  • Procedures for full traceability and accountability

MCERTS is the Environment Agency’s Monitoring Certification Scheme, and sits over and above ISO 17025, so a laboratory must be accredited to ISO 17025 for a method before it can apply for MCERTS.  The standard places particular emphasis on validation of methods across a range of matrices, in order to prove the method is robust and meaningful with real samples.  DETS are accredited for both soils and waters.


All new or updated methods must undergo a stringent validation process to prove the method is fit for purpose, and that the precision and bias conform to the MCERTS requirements. This will generally involve running standards and known samples every day in duplicate on at least three matrices for up to 11 consecutive days.

Understandably, this is very time consuming and utilises significant resources in the laboratory, so extending our scope of accreditation is a high cost and must be built into our pricing structure.


DETS – dependable data, dependable delivery