In 2020, the government introduced clear legal requirements for any organisation seeking to provide testing services for Covid-19. The possibility of opportunists exploiting the explosion in demand continues to be a genuine danger to public health and detrimental to the individuals affected.
A system of accreditation for testing providers was established and the government made it illegal for anyone to carry out testing without having been granted accreditation documents. The legality of providers is of particular concern to film and TV production companies, not least because using an unaccredited tester could invalidate their insurance.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) was appointed by the government to evaluate the suitability of various laboratories and providers to conduct testing on which individuals, organisations, industries, and the authorities could rely. Hundreds of bodies in both the public and private sectors were accredited.
The three-stage process for becoming a registered provider begins with applicant bodies self-declaring that their service meets the minimum standards. This includes the requirement to be applying for the relevant ISO standard.
The second stage asks applicants to conduct a gap analysis against the accreditation requirements and show that the minimum standards have been met. 13 conditions must be fulfilled. Laboratories and test providers must have received UKAS appraisal of the applicable ISO within four weeks of stage one.
The final stage requires UKAS recommendation to be given within four months of stage two with full accreditation following at six months. Of the many conditions imposed by UKAS is the demand that any products used in testing must be included in the UKAS list of approved products. Please check the gov.uk website for the most updated list of approved COVID-19 tests.
For film and TV production companies, for whom budgets are always tight, the cost is a key consideration, but so too is time. They should make sure that their chosen provider is fully accredited, offers fair price, and can guarantee both on-set testing and the fastest turnaround.
Katalyst offers testing that is specifically designed for production companies of all sizes. We are UKAS accredited with ISO15189 and our service is fast and competitively priced.