Transforming patient-level costing in the NHS


Our costing transformation programme will improve the quality of costing information in the NHS, with patient-level costing (PLICS) and a single annual cost collection. This will support providers to deliver better, more efficient outcomes.

We're working with providers to implement patient-level costing across the NHS. Resources, outputs and tools from cost collections – both PLICS and reference costs – to support you to use cost data are available in Using costing information to support better outcomes

Latest news from the programme

National Cost Collections 2020

Since the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak we have been working on the scheduling of new collection windows and reviewing costing processes to take account of the extra pressures facing trusts due to the pandemic. Central to this work has been a recent survey requesting feedback on potential options for collection windows, as well as asking providers for their views on a range of matters relating to the impact of the pandemic on costing. The response to this survey was excellent; we received 240 submissions, and this has allowed us to formulate a way forward which we believe will be sympathetic to the needs of the sectors.

Having reviewed the feedback we have now decided upon the following dates for the collection of data for the 2019/20 financial year:

Acute and Community sectors: 7 September – 6 November 2020

Ambulance and Mental Health sectors: 11 January – 29 January 2021

These dates were first announced to the costing community on a webinar which took place on Monday 18 May. The slides from that webinar are below, and a recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Acute providers are now able to reserve a date for their submissions. If you wish to reserve a date please follow this link.

National Cost Collection 2020 webinar slides PDF, 665.1 KB

Slides from the 2020 National Cost Collections webinar held on Monday 18 May.

2020 Cost Collection Launch Event

The Costing Team held the 2020 Cost Collection Launch Event at the Hard Rock Hotel in central London on Tuesday 3 March 2020. Attended by almost 150 costing professionals from across the country this was a great opportunity for us to share information about our plans for 2020 and to find out from the costing community their concerns and priorities. The next round of costing engagement events is currently scheduled for Autumn 2020; if you have any thoughts on what you would like to see from those events please email us at

Cost Collection Launch Event Slides PDF, 1.2 MB

A PDF of the slides from the presentations at the 2020 Cost Collection Launch Event

Approved Costing Guidance publication

The first two tranches of the Approved Costing Guidance (ACG) 2020 were published on 6 and 28 February 2020. The documentation can be found here. The third and fourth tranches of the ACG are scheduled to be published later in the spring.

Autumn 2019 Costing Regional Forums

Last autumn's Costing Regional Forums took place from Monday 23 to Friday 27 September. The five events, at venues across the country, brought together the NHS costing community to share good practice and explore how costing data is used in wider contexts to support strategic decision making. Slides from all of the presentations at the events can be found below.

If you have any queries regarding the Forums, please email

Costing Regional Forums Presentations September 2019 ZIP, 43.4 MB

Slides from the presentations at the Costing Regional Forums, 23-27 September 2019.

Buddying up initiative

Last year we launched a buddying up initiative for acute providers, which we then later extended to all sectors.

The purpose of the initiative is to give an opportunity for providers which have greater experience of submitting PLICS data to share their expertise with less experienced providers, and for the less experienced providers to learn from them in turn.

Those who are taking part have the opportunity to request 121 support or become part of a buddy group consisting of several providers (both experienced and less experienced/new implementers). We aim to match up trusts using the same costing software supplier.

Feedback from the initiative has been very positive, with comments including:

"From our perspective we found the initiative very helpful albeit in our particular circumstances we didn’t perhaps utilise the resource as much as some others could have done. Our anticipation though is to continue to work further with our ‘buddy’ over the coming months to benefit from their greater experience with the system. I would definitely recommend extending the scope to other sectors."

"As an “experienced” site we’ve always been happy to share informally through 121 requests and across our own networks. We view it as an important part of the learning process as not only did it get us up and running when we started we still use and rely on those networks today."

"I found it very useful, we contacted each other a few times and talked about our issues. Quite often Practitioners are working alone, having somebody to contact if you come across a problem helps no end."

Requests for registration in the intiative are currently closed, but will be re-opened later in 2020.


Recordings of previous webinars

Acute Cost Collection Guidance 2020

Friday 19 June, 2.00pm-3.00pm View here

This webinar is aimed at acute sector costing practitioners and covered information from the National Cost Collection (NCC) Guidance Volume 7. There was a focus on how to complete the NCC workbook and use of the data validation tool (DVT). Presented by Candice Goold, Head of Costing at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

National Cost Collections 2020

Monday 18 May, 10.30am-12.00pm View here

At this webinar we announced the cost collection windows for 2020. The webinar also looked at what's new for this year's collections. Presented by Candice Goold.

Approved Costing Guidance 2020 Publication – Review & Feedback

Friday 28 February, 11.30am-12.30pm View here.

An in-depth look at the feedback on the proposals for the 2020 Approved Costing Guidance and exploring the key areas that have changed. Presented by Candice Goold.

Our aim

By 2020, we'll deliver cost information that more accurately reflects a patient's treatment and is produced consistently across all licensed healthcare providers. Understanding the cost of patient care will help providers to improve the efficiency of their services.

About the programme

To support the sustainable delivery of high quality patient care as outlined in the Five Year Forward View, providers need to fully understand their current models of care and what the impact would be of moving to a new way of delivering services.

Cost is an important factor in evaluating how effectively and efficiently you're delivering care to patients. Having accurate, consistent, patient-level cost information will help you to:

  • make the best possible use of resources
  • evaluate clinical practice
  • compare different ways of working

We previously consulted on our proposals to improve the costing of NHS services. The response was supportive of the move to patient-level costing with a single cost collections across all care settings.

Keep in touch

Costing newsletter

Keep up-to-date with costing news with our twice monthly costing newsletter. Email to be added to our distribution list.

Follow us on Twitter

The costing team has a non-official twitter account where you can find all our latest news and updates: follow us at @NHSCosting. In addition, you can use the hashtag #ImprovingCosting to find the latest messages from members of our costing team and other costing professionals.

Contact us

Please email any questions, feedback or suggestions to

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