Lessons in the financial management of forensic science laboratories are drawn from NIJ-funded project FORESIGHT, which applies financial management techniques to avowed public sector goals and offers insight into the financial performance, productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of forensic science.
Critical to the decision-making within an individual forensic science laboratory is an understanding of their efficiency and effectiveness. The NIJ-funded project, FORESIGHT, applies financial management techniques to avowed public sector goals and offers a common starting point for the comparison of individual forensic laboratories to the established standards in the industry through a review of financial ratios. Such ratios adjust for size differences and allow insight into several aspects of the operation including evaluation of efficiency, quality, risk, market nuances, and return on investment. This study offers insight into the financial performance, productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of forensic science laboratories. Using data from the National Institute of Justice's Project FORESIGHT for 2011-2012, a variety of benchmark performance data are presented with analytical insight into the nature of that performance. The tabular and graphic presentations offer some insight into the current status of the forensic science industry in general and provide a basis by which individual laboratories may begin to assess their own performance with respect to both analytical efficiency and cost effectiveness. (Published abstract provided)