Code Of Practice
Our Code of Practice for Paternity and Family Relationship TestingPlease read this document carefully before arranging for samples to be collected
In all cases of drug,
alcohol and DNA testing Anglia DNA Services Ltd (“Anglia DNA”) will follow the
principles and procedures set out below.
Our Code of Practice
has been drafted in accordance with common law and legislation applicable to
drug, alcohol and DNA testing* and ‘A Common Framework of Principles for
direct-to-consumer genetic testing services’ (2010) which is intended to apply
in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In some instances the law in Scotland is
different and we have endeavoured to show these variations where appropriate.
* For example, Human
Tissue Act 2004 (the majority of which came into force in September 2006) Blood
Tests (Evidence of Paternity) Regulations 1971 (as amended), Age of Legal
Act 1971, Mental Capacity Act 2005, etc.
It is our policy to
provide as much information as we can to persons who are considering a Test on
the nature and purpose of the Test and the natural degree of accuracy expected.
Information is available from our websites (www.angliadna.co.uk and
www.claritest.co.uk). Our staff will be happy to answer any questions by
telephone (01603 358161) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is our policy to
provide full and clear results in our Test Reports and to provide further
information or explanation if required.
In cases of DNA testing
in particular, all persons to be tested need to consider the potential
consequences of finding out the results of the Test especially for any children
involved – in some cases the effects may be devastating – and it may be
beneficial to seek counselling either before or after obtaining a Test.
Counselling services are available from various organisations, for example
Relate provides counselling in the UK (0300 100 1234 or www.relate.org.uk).
2.1 Before samples may be collected for a Test or the Test itself carried
out, the appropriate consent (see further below) must be obtained (unless a
court rules otherwise).
2.2 Consent is not consent if it is uninformed consent. The person giving
consent must understand what they are consenting to – the type of test and what
it will show. For DNA testing it is also important that they have given serious
consideration to the implications of finding out the results of the Test – the
consequences of which may be irrevocable.
2.3 Consent must be voluntary, i.e. the person giving consent must give
consent of their own free will and must not be subjected to undue influence,
pressure or threat of any kind.
2.4 Consent may be withdrawn at any time. If any party to a test
subsequently withdraws their consent, Anglia DNA must be notified immediately
and the processing of samples will be stopped. Anglia DNA fees will still be
payable subject to our Terms and Conditions relating to ‘Payment and
Consent (16 years and above)
3.1 No Test will be undertaken without the consent of each adult to be
tested (unless a court has ruled otherwise). Each adult is required to sign the
Consent Form/Consent Section of the Sampler Statement.
3.1.1 An adult is someone who is 18 years or over.
3.1.2 A child of 16 or 17 years of age is presumed to be capable of giving
consent and may give consent as if they were an adult. If they do not wish to
make a decision either way, a person with Parental Responsibility for them (see
paragraph 4.1.1 below) may consent on their behalf.
3.1.3 In Scotland,
a person who is 16 or over has the legal capacity to consent for themselves.
3.2 Any Tests involving an adult who is not capable of giving consent will
be considered on a case by case basis. Such testing will only be undertaken if
Anglia DNA is satisfied that it is in the best interests of that person. Legal
advice or a court ruling may be required.
In Scotland, a
guardianship order from the Sheriff
Court may authorise someone to take such
decisions, or a court may consent for the incapacitated person.
3.3 Any DNA Tests involving an adult who is deceased require the consent of
a close relative* unless the wishes of the deceased person are known (in which
case, the deceased person’s wishes take precedence over the wishes of any
*Under the Human
Tissue Act 2004, consent in these circumstances must be given by someone who
stood in a “qualifying relationship” with the deceased, which is defined as one
of the following: spouse or partner, parent or child, brother or sister,
grandparent or grandchild, nephew or niece, stepfather or stepmother,
half-brother or half-sister, friend of longstanding.
Consent (under 16 years)
4.1 If a child under 16 years of age is to be tested, then the mother or
other person with Parental Responsibility for the child (see 4.1.1 below) may
give consent on behalf of the child and is required to sign the Consent section
of Sampler Statement for them.
However, if the
child is old enough and mature enough to understand the nature and consequences
of the Test, their wishes should be sought and taken into consideration before
the sample is collected. If the child’s wishes conflict with the parent’s
wishes legal advice may be required.
September 2006, a “competent” child, i.e. one who is old enough and mature
enough to understand the nature and implications of the Test, may consent for
themselves and their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or other person
with Parental Responsibility for them. The test of competency is based on the
“Gillick” case (Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority 
3 All ER 402, HL) in which it was held that a doctor could provide medical
advice to a child under 16 years without the approval (or even the knowledge)
of the parent if the child was of “sufficient understanding and intelligence to
be capable of making up his own mind”. It is not possible to state with
certainty at what age a child might be expected to have the appropriate level
of competency to consent, as all children are different and mature at different
rates, but as a rough guide it is probable that most children of 12 years and
over are likely to have the required competence and care should therefore be
taken to ensure that their rights under the new Act are upheld.
4.1.1 Only persons with Parental Responsibility* for a child may give consent
for a sample to be taken from that child and for a Test to be carried out
(unless a court rules otherwise).
automatically has Parental Responsibility as does the father if he is married
to the mother. The father may also have Parental Responsibility if he is on the
birth certificate, provided the birth was registered (or re-registered) after 1st
December 2003, or if he has a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement lodged
with a court, or a Parental Responsibility Order or a Residence Order. Persons
other than the parents may also have Parental Responsibility for a child
(usually by Court Order). Legal advice should be sought for further
clarification if required.
4.2 If a paternity Test is to be
carried out for a child under 16 years, but the mother is not herself being
tested*, then only the mother may consent for the child (unless a court rules
otherwise) and her details should be given in the Sampler Statement. If the
mother is no longer living or is no longer bringing up the child then the
father (provided he has Parental Responsibility) or other person with Parental
Responsibility for the child may consent for the child and their details should
be given in the Sampler Statement [see also paragraph 7 below].
*It should be noted,
that at present the Child Support Agency require all three parties to be tested
– i.e. mother, father and child.
4.3 In Scotland,
a child under the age of 16 may give consent themselves if in the opinion of
the medical practitioner who is attending them* they have the capacity to
understand the nature and possible consequences of the procedure (in which
case, their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or the local authority who
has responsibility for them). If they do not have such capacity, any person
with “parental responsibilities” (within the meaning of section 1(3) of
Act 1995) in relation to a child or having care and control of child may
consent for them. The consent of only one such person is required.
*For our purposes,
this would include the person collecting the child’s sample, provided they are
a medical practitioner (e.g. doctor, dentist).
4.4 Any DNA Tests involving a child who is deceased requires the consent of
a person who had Parental Responsibility for the child at the time of death (or
if no-one had Parental Responsibility at the time of death, a person who stood
in a “qualifying relationship” with the child – see 3.3 above).*
*Unless the deceased
child’s decision to consent or decision not to consent was in force immediately
before they died, in which case that decision takes precedence over the wishes
of any living relatives.
4.5 Tests will not be undertaken
where we have reason to believe that the person consenting for a child is not
authorised to do so.
Consent (Test Reports)
As well as
consenting to the samples being taken and the Test being carried out, everyone
tested should realise that they are also consenting to the results being issued
to an authorised person (or persons).
Test reports will
only be given to or discussed with:
the person nominated on the Sampler Statement to
receive the results – the “Nominated Person”
other authorised persons (if applicable), such as
Child Support Agency or the Court which ordered the test
the legal representative(s) of the person(s) tested
(if applicable) with the consent of the person(s) tested
other persons with the consent of everyone tested
any person tested (or, where person tested is a child,
the mother or other person with Parental Responsibility [see 4.1.1] for the
child) , where those authorised to receive the results failed without good
cause to pass on the results to those tested (see further below paragraph 9.2).
Apart from the
report supplied to the Nominated Person, a fee may be charged for each
additional report supplied to the persons mentioned above.
“Best interests of the Child” for DNA Tests
Paternity Tests will
not be carried out where we have reason to believe that it may not be in the
best interests of the child.
The parent or other
person collecting the child’s sample are also under a legal obligation to
consider the interests of the child and if they have reason to believe that the
test may not be in the best interests of the child, they should not proceed
with the sample collection.*
*Please note, if
there is a conflict between the wishes of the child and the parent (see further
paragraph 4.1 above) this may be an instance where to proceed would not be in
the best interests of the child.
Procedure for Sample Collection for DNA Tests
In order that we can
ensure that the samples delivered to us came from the right persons, the
samples must be taken by a Sampler (see further below, paragraph 8) and then
despatched directly to us by that Sampler by Recorded Delivery or other
The Sampler must
also verify the identity of the person(s) being tested by the use of
photographs and ID documents, and complete a Sampler Statement.
When a person other
than the mother has consented for a child and the mother is not herself being
tested (see paragraph 4.2 above), they must provide documentary evidence of
Parental Responsibility (for example, copy of court order granting Parental Responsibility
or, in the case of the father, copy of marriage certificate if he was married
to mother or copy of birth certificate if he is on birth certificate and the
birth was registered after 1st December 2003). In addition, the
reason why mother is unable to consent must be given in the Sampler Statement
and supporting evidence provided (e.g. copy of death certificate)*.
*In some circumstances,
documentary evidence may not be available (for example, when a mother’s
whereabouts are unknown). In such cases, a signed and dated statement from a
close relative, GP, solicitor, social worker, police (if missing person case
filed), or other person able to verify assertion that mother cannot be
contacted, would be satisfactory.
DNA SAMPLES RETURNED
WITHOUT REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION (or where no payment has been made) will not be
processed and may be destroyed after receipt by the laboratory. We will
endeavour to contact the client to supply the missing item/information, before
destroying the samples.
Note: It is a
serious offence punishable by imprisonment to personate another person for the
purpose of providing a bodily sample (or to present the wrong child for that
Procedure for Sample Collection for Drug Tests
It is a serious
offence, punishable by imprisonment to personate another person for the purpose
of providing a bodily sample (or to present the wrong child for that purpose).
Sampler for DNA Tests
A sampler must be at
least 18 years of age, be unrelated to those being tested and have no interest
(financial or otherwise) in the outcome of the test.
A Sampler must be
one of the following:
(a) a registered
medical practitioner (for example, a GP)
(b) a registered
nurse or registered biomedical scientist who is under the supervision of a
registered medical practitioner (for example, a Practice Nurse)
(c) an authorised
member of Anglia DNA’s staff
Sampler for Drug Tests
A sampler must be at
least 18 years of age, be unrelated to those being tested and have no interest
(financial or otherwise) in the outcome of the test.
11.1 All information supplied by persons to be tested shall be kept in
the strictest confidence and only for as long as is necessary to adequately
carry out the Test, report the results and comply with the requirements of
Once the Test Report
has been issued to the Nominated Person:
(a) any DNA mouth swabs will be destroyed by incineration after one month
(b) any extracted DNA will be destroyed by incineration after six months
(c) any bodily samples taken for drug/alcohol testing will be destroyed by
incineration after twelve months
(d) paper copies of personal data and test reports will be destroyed by
shredding after twelve months
(e) electronic data will be disposed of securely after twelve months
11.2 Everyone being tested is entitled to know the results of the test,
but the results will only be given to the Nominated Person or other authorised
person(s) as listed in paragraph 5 above. It is the responsibility of the
Nominated Person to ensure that everyone tested receives the results. However,
if the Nominated Person has without reasonable excuse failed to pass on the
results to all the persons tested, we reserve the right to issue results
directly or to discuss results with any person tested (or where the person
tested is a child, to issue results to and/or to discuss the results with the
mother or other person with Parental Responsibility [see 4.1.1] for the child).
In most cases, test
reports will be sent by First Class post to the Nominated Person and/or other
authorised person(s). Where details of reports are given over the telephone or
by electronic means, all reasonable steps will be taken to establish their
identity before disclosing results to the person(s) listed at paragraph 5
Risk to Staff, Clients and Donors
We take the safety
of our Staff, Clients and Donors very seriously, and if we as a Company feel
that anyone could be at risk due to taking part in a drug, alcohol or DNA test
we reserve the right to withdraw our services.