Webinar Series

Applications of Forensic Science for the Legal Professional—Webinar Series

WVU FSI is pleased to offer FREE webinars for legal professionals on a variety of topics in forensic science. Discussions and questions are encouraged for these live presentations given by forensic science experts throughout the United States. Space will be limited.

The FORESIGHT Project: Effectiveness and efficiency of forensic laboratories through standardized metrics

August 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM EST
Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes

This session offers an opportunity to more effectively use the resources of the forensic laboratory. As with other public sector agencies, the forensic laboratory operates with limited resources and excess demands for their services. Informed requests for services permit better use of limited resources; and offers faster results to the remainder of the justice system. Project FORESIGHT offers a true indication of the costs and benefits from alternative forensic services. In this session, an overview of project FORESIGHT is presented along with details regarding costs and tradeoffs in laboratory requests.

The FORESIGHT Project is a business-guided self-evaluation of forensic science laboratories with participating laboratories representing metropolitan, regional, provincial, and federal agencies. Business faculty and participating laboratories have joined forces to standardize metric definitions for evaluation of work processes by linking financial statements, casework performance, and personnel information. The early results of the FORESIGHT study are presented in this session as we link the goals of the laboratory to ratio metrics representing efficiency, quality, analytical processes, and local economic conditions. The results permit laboratory managers to assess resource allocations, efficiencies, and value of services. The session includes three applications, noting the use by participating laboratories as they have measured performance, preserved what works, and begun to change what does not.

The project involved standardizing definitions for metrics to evaluate work processes, and then linked financial information to work tasks and functions. Laboratory managers can use these functions to assess resource allocations, efficiencies, and value of services. While the Census of Publicly Funded Crime Laboratories and other surveys approach the forensic industry broadly, FORESIGHT uses cross-laboratory data comparisons to identify and examine processes, strategies, resources, and allocations.

The goal was not simply more information; most forensic laboratories have laboratory information management. LIMS systems in forensic science are designed more for routine record-keeping tasks, like chain of custody, than fully managing information. The goals here are human goals, to improve the efficiency of the science offered to the criminal justice system from a business perspective, while also maintaining quality. In FORESIGHT, the intent was to know how to extract and facilitate the data through standardization, collaboration, and analysis while retaining innovation to solve complex problems.

Instructor Bio:
Paul Speaker

Paul J. Speaker is a faculty member of the West Virginia University Finance in the College of Business and Economics. He holds a Ph.D., Economics, Purdue University, a M.S., Economics, Purdue University and a B.A., Economics, 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 Principal Investigator for Project FORESIGHT, an NIJ funded effort to provide a business approach to improve forensic laboratory efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Dr. Speaker’s research activity is concentrated in economic modeling, including regulated industries, business valuation, the role of not-for-profit institutions, and the business of forensics. His teaching areas include corporate finance, managerial economics, business valuation and financial management.

Dr. Speaker regularly serves as a consultant to several industries, including the forensic community, defense sector, energy sector, and banking and financial institutions. He serves as a consultant to governments, including the WV Legislature, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Public Safety Canada. His not-for-profit clients include numerous forensic laboratories and public health laboratories.

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If you should have problems opening the above registration link, applications may be faxed on a first come, first serve basis to (304) 293-5178 or emailed to FSI@mail.wvu.edu using the FORM provided.