The Standing Committee of Analysts

The Standing Committee of Analysts

Strategic Objective 1 :
Develop and implement methods that are current, robust, usable, and globally recognised


Assessment of what is required

What evidence exists that this has been achieved in the past?

What are we not doing to achieve the goal

What activity or mitigation measures do we need to undertake to achieve the objective component

How we will measure the efficacy of our implementation?


The term implementation needs careful definition.  The context of SCA it is assumed that we mean “publish” so that users may adopt as appropriate

There is strong anecdotal evidence of laboratories using SCA methods to develop standard operating procedures for the purposes of routine operations and accreditation purposes.


The Board should consider changing the word “implement” in this objective to that of “publish” to reflect the assumed intent.

Report on the number of publications achieved annually


The methods developed should reflect current best practice where it can be demonstrated that the required performance can be achieved.

This has in the past a primary objective of working group chair persons.

The goal has been achieved in the past; however, as technology moves forward methods loos currency and may no longer represent best practice.

SCA needs to maintain its vigilance with respect to the currency of methods and encourage its working groups to respond to changing technologies.

Actively encourage feedback on the subject from users.

Take note of changes in legislation reported by members.

Develop a survey tool to record working group members views on the topicality of use of published methods

Record it’s consultation with working group members on the subject of currency of methods.

Record its monitoring activity in minuets of its meetings and annual report.


The published method must be able to withstand scrutiny by piers, be supported by adequate performance data for the stated matrix sufficient to meet the regulatory or contractual requirements of the test

It is current policy that all methods published carry supporting example performance data.

All methods published undergo rigorous pier testing with developmental working groups prior to publication.


Maintain current policy

Maintain a register of published methods and indicate in that record for which matrices performance data have been documented in the publication.

This should form part of the annual report


The methods must be easily understood and be capable of adoption using freely available equipment and materials

The peer review process is a tried and tested procedure adopted by the SCA since inception.


Maintain current policy

The peer review process and working group development activity needs to be maintained to ensure that methods are fit for practical use.

Globally recognised

The methods must support the reporting requirements with respect to regulatory demands and international obligations of the UK.

The UK meets its obligations with respect to returns to the European Commission.

SCA methods are the default position with respect to UK offerings in the European and International Standards forums.

There is evidence from the SCA web site that methods are downloaded from users operating from non UK IP addresses

There is a perceived lack of promotion of SCA output into the international standards forum due to various factors relating to funding and release of individuals for representational roles by sponsoring organisations.

Maintain current policy

SCA should attempt to compile and maintain register of ISO and CEN methods which are based on its publications and/or where its working groups have contributed to the development of the international or European standard.

Members should encourage stronger ties with BSI to ensure the best possible chance of SCA developments being adopted by a wider user network.



The Standing Committee of Analysts (SCA) exists to provide authoritative guidance on methods of sampling and analysis of waters and effluents, sewage sludges, sediments, soils (including contaminated land) and biota. Where appropriate, guidance on the sampling and analysis of air will also be produced. The primary duty of SCA will be to develop and publish recommended analytical methods. This will not include the provision of advice on, or interpretation of results. All methods published by the SCA should be capable of satisfying a regulatory demand, be fit for purpose and represent best practice within the United Kingdom (UK).
However, validation data published with methods represents performance under a particular set of circumstances and is provided for illustrative purposes only. It is incumbent on users of SCA methods to assess performance on their equipment, in their laboratories, with their personnel.