Approved costing guidance

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Costing principles and guidance for providers of NHS-funded services.

What is the Approved costing guidance?

The Approved costing guidance forms a co-ordinated approach to patient-level costing (PLICS), the reference costs collection and the reference costs assurance programme.

It comprises:

  • costing standards to be used by providers of NHS services
  • PLICS collection guidance to be used by acute sector early implementers in submitting their 2016/17 cost data
  • integrated reference costs and education and training collection guidance to be used for submitting 2016/17 cost data, which are mandatory for all providers of NHS services 

The guidance also provides the framework on which the costing assurance audit programme will be based.

We intend to mandate the patient-level cost collection for all acute providers for the 2018/19 submission, extending to all mental health and ambulance providers for the 2019/20 submission and community providers in 2020/21. 

We are considering our approach to independent sector providers but will not be collecting cost data from them in 2017.

Approved costing guidance: the essentials PDF, 310.4 KB

Outlines how to comply with the guidance, cost collections for the 2016/17 data, oversight and the provider licence and the costing assurance programme.

Costing principles PDF, 204.6 KB

Outlines the costing principles: causality, transparency, consistency, accuracy, materiality, stakeholder engagement and totality.

Healthcare costing standards for England

This is the costing approach we ask you to adopt and includes a timetable for implementing the standards over time. You should use these standards for all the collections in 2017. The new standards do not currently cover community providers but we ask that they too adopt the costing principles and the costing process.

How to implement the healthcare costing standards for England PDF, 222.0 KB

Describes how to implement the standards in sequence, what to do this year, tools available to help implementation, the detailed transition path for the acute sector and the standards change log.

Healthcare costing standards for England: glossary PDF, 380.3 KB

A glossary of terms for the Healthcare costing standards for England.

Quick start guide for the healthcare costing standards PDF, 673.7 KB

An overview of the costing process and how to start implementing the standards.

Acute

Healthcare costing standards: acute PDF, 5.4 MB

The costing standards for acute providers.

Technical guidance for costing standards XLSX, 1.2 MB

The technical guidance for acute providers.

Patient-level costing acute collection guidance for 2016/17 data PDF, 533.9 KB

Technical specifications for acute early implementers to adhere to ahead of a PLICS collection in summer 2017.

March 2017 update: We've added further instructions for the collection. The main additions are:

  • finalised collection data fields and extracts (see section 10)
  • data validations (see section 10.4)
  • CAT submission date added (see section 13)
  • further guidance on education and training (E&T) costs (see section 6.8)

Acute PLICS collection self-assessment checklist XLSX, 66.9 KB

This self-assessment checklist is one of a number of quality assurance phases for data to be submitted to the 2016-17 acute PLICS cost collection and is to be completed by all trusts participating in the collection.

Cost assessment tool (CAT)

This tool will help acute trusts improve their costing and record progress in implementing the healthcare costing standards for England.

CAT populated with dummy data XLSM, 670.7 KB

This completed CAT provides a hypothetical example.

CAT XLSM, 668.9 KB

This blank CAT is for your completion.


Costing manual template acute services XLSM, 1.3 MB

Provides a standard format for the costing manual required as part of the standards, designed to work with PLICS.

Evidence pro forma XLSX, 74.9 KB

Developed to gather feedback from our roadmap partners, early implementers and other costing, informatics and clincial professionals to support the next development version of the healthcare costing standards.

Information gap analysis XLSX, 112.8 KB

Use this template to assess the gaps between the information collected by your organisation and the information required by the draft costing standards at the individual field level.

Costing standards gap analysis XLSX, 75.0 KB

Supports the implementation of the healthcare costing standards for England published in January 2017.

Ambulance

Healthcare costing standards for England: ambulance PDF, 4.7 MB

The costing standards for ambulance providers.

Technical guidance for costing standards XLSX, 1.3 MB

The technical guidance for ambulance providers.

Costing manual template ambulance services XLSM, 303.0 KB

Provides a standard format for the costing manual required as part of the standards, designed to work with PLICS.

Evidence pro forma XLSX, 83.6 KB

Developed to gather feedback from our roadmap partners, early implementers and other costing, informatics and clincial professionals to support the next development version of the healthcare costing standards.

Information gap analysis XLSX, 74.9 KB

Use this template to assess the gaps between the information collected by your organisation and the information required by the draft costing standards at the individual field level.

Costing standards gap analysis XLSX, 71.1 KB

Supports the implementation of the healthcare costing standards for England published in January 2017.

Mental health

Healthcare costing standards for England: mental health PDF, 2.6 MB

The costing standards for mental health providers.

Technical guidance for costing standards XLSX, 518.7 KB

The technical guidance for mental health providers.

Costing manual template mental health services XLSM, 1.2 MB

Provides a standard format for the costing manual required as part of the standards, designed to work with PLICS.

Evidence pro forma XLSX, 66.6 KB

Developed to gather feedback from our roadmap partners, early implementers and other costing, informatics and clincial professionals to support the next development version of the healthcare costing standards.

Information gap analysis XLSX, 70.5 KB

Use this template to assess the gaps between the information collected by your organisation and the information required by the draft costing standards at the individual field level.

Costing standards gap analysis XLSX, 58.1 KB

Supports the implementation of the healthcare costing standards for England published in January 2017.

Background to the annual costing guidance

Message from Bob Alexander, Executive Director of Resources/Deputy Chief Executive

"The need for good quality cost data has never been greater. The focus on better outcomes for patients while delivering best value to the taxpayer, as well as the development and delivery of sustainable care models, requires local decision-making and benchmarking that must be underpinned by good costing information.

Providers of NHS services face a common challenge: the pressure to improve service performance and productivity against the backdrop of rising demand for services and constrained funding. You are also increasingly engaged in the integration of local health and care pathways through working with system partners in sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).

The Approved costing guidance exemplifies the costing approach I strongly encourage you to adopt this year to help meet these challenges, as well as setting out the longer-term transformation of NHS costing. It is important that it has been developed in partnership with costing practitioners, users of cost data and other key stakeholders to further support the implementation of PLICS within the NHS."

How we developed the standards

The standards we issued in April 2016 were developed over a year and took account of international best practice. We tested and refined them as part of our road map partner implementation programme with six acute trusts to understand how they would work in the real world. Then we reviewed them in technical focus groups to stress test the standards. 

To give organisations exposure to the requirements of the standards, these were extremely well received with over 160 attendees and where over 90% of the 160 people taking part were satisfied with them. An extensive consultation attracted 1,200 responses, many of which improved the standards further. Then we put them through NHS Improvement’s own governance process, wider arm’s length body and stakeholder review and executive sign-off. The standards team within NHS Improvement have worked tirelessly and broken new ground in devising the standards, and we hope you enjoy implementing them.

Combined costs collection

Combined costs collection: overview of integrated reference costs and education and training collection guidance 2016/17 PDF, 365.3 KB

Provides detailed guidance on the overview of the combined costs collection.

Combined costs collection: reference costs collection guidance 2016/17 PDF, 1.1 MB

Provides detailed guidance on the reference costs of the combined costs collection.

Combined costs collection: education and training collection guidance 2016/17 PDF, 1.7 MB

Provides detailed guidance on the education and training element of the combined cost collection.

Cost component mapping 2015-16 XLSX, 17.8 KB

Supports the 'Combined costs collection: education and training collection guidance 2016/17'.

Cost component mapping 2016-17 XLSX, 17.6 KB

Supports the 'Combined costs collection: education and training collection guidance 2016/17'.

Combined costs collection: integrated reference costs and education and training collection guidance 2016/17 PDF, 505.5 KB

Provides detailed guidance on the integrated cost collection element of the combined cost collection.

If you have any questions please email nhsi.referencecosts@nhs.net.

Supporting documents

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