Tools for using costing data


Details about a selection of tools to help analyse patient-level costing information (often referred to as PLICS) and reference cost data - and how to access them

Accessing the tools

The PLICS public view is accessible directly - the link below will open the tool. Most other tools can be accessed via the NHS Improvement website (go to My account at the top of this page to log in). This acts as a central entrance point to many of our existing tools, including the Model Hospital. The document below details how to log in. The reference cost benchmarking tool is published to trust planning portals.

Access to the PLICS Portal and data quality tool is available to trusts who have submitted PLICS information as part of the acute PLICS collection in 2017. We will contact relevant trusts when their data is uploaded and provide details of how to access. If you have submitted PLICS data but don’t yet have login details, please contact

Access to the benchmarking tool will be available to trusts who participated in the ‘cost pool’ style data collection which was undertaken in September 2016. We will provide the relevant trusts with details of how to access the tool. If you have any queries, please contact

PLICS public view

The PLICS public view is a tool that allows NHS staff and researchers to review aggregated 2016/17 PLICS data for acute providers.

The tool includes a number of views of the PLICS data: a headline view for PLICS data; costs by point of delivery and treatment function code; costs by point of delivery and healthcare resource group; selected procedure and diagnoses costs; patient activity cost by point of delivery.

We’ve also worked with NHS Digital to produce a report analysing the PLICS data: Acute patient-level activity and costing - data quality and initial analysis 2016/17.

If you have any issues accessing the tool please email

PLICS Portal

The national PLICS Portal is a new tool which allows users to analyse patient-level costing information.

The portal connects nationally collected PLICS data with hospital episode statistics (HES) data to enable in-depth benchmarking of costs, patient outcomes reporting, patient-level activity analysis, patient pathway analysis and more. It has been developed as part of our costing transformation programme (CTP).

The portal was relaunched in December 2018 with new designs and features to make it easier and quicker for users to analyse their patient-level costing information. We will continue to develop the portal to extend its functionality. We welcome your feedback on the portal and how it could be improved. Please contact

We now have a PLICS portal webinar available to: 

  • learn how the portal works and the benefits of using it
  • get an update on the current development plan and key milestones

PLICS data quality tool

The PLICS data quality tool presents an interactive view of PLICS data back to NHS providers who submitted it. The tool aims to improve data quality and help providers ensure that any outliers in their data are identified and addressed.

The tool extracts nationally-collected PLICS data and combines it with hospital episode statistics (HES) data to enable providers to identify cost outliers on a number of levels. It also allows them to identify potential data quality and costing quality issues.

The tool gives users access to a range of specific reports based on their PLICS submission. 

PLICS cost pool benchmarking tool

The PLICS cost pool benchmarking tool is based on the ‘cost pool’ style data collection undertaken in September 2016. This is sometimes referred to as the legacy PLICS collection.

The tool allows trusts who participated in this collection to identify how costs compare with other providers. Useful filters break down information, for example, by healthcare resource group (HRG) chapter, HRG subchapter, HRG code or point of delivery. The tool also offers ‘year-on-year’ views for providers who participated in the Monitor 2014/15 PLICS collection. 

Reference cost benchmarking tool

The 2016/17 reference cost benchmarking tool and associated guidance is now available and published to trust planning portals. The tool has been produced using the latest nationally collected reference cost data. It allows analysis including national and peer comparisons and offers average and upper quartile comparisons. 

The tool can be used to highlight areas where there might be financial efficiency opportunities and also to evaluate trust reference costs to improve costing in future collections. Views include top-level KPIs but also drill down to currency level. We welcome your feedback or questions; please contact

Reference cost benchmarking tool: user guide PDF, 1.9 MB

Guidance on how to use the reference costs benchmarking tool to compare costs, activity and other selected operational measures.

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