National contract value review

The national contract value review (NCVR) is a standardised, national approach to costing for commercial contract research.

National contract value review is a UK wide programme

In England, NCVR is being delivered by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), The Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The NCVR programme is being introduced across the UK. While the processes will be aligned across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland there will be some differences to how the programme will be introduced in the Devolved Administrations, for more information see the national contract value review – operational details web page.

There will be reciprocal recognition of contract value reviews conducted by NHS organisations across the UK.

The introduction of the national contract value review process will bring about several benefits

  • A new, standardised, national approach to costing for commercial contract research improving consistency in study set-up and making it easier to conduct research.
  • Increasing the speed and efficiency of research set up to increase the capacity for more research in the NHS.
  • A transparent ‘no surprises’ approach to contract value negotiations between commercial research sponsors and NHS study sites.
  • Builds on local expertise to establish a national process for defining and allocating resource and procedure requirements.
  • By simplifying and improving research arrangements, we can speed up access to new treatments and support patients to receive the best care.

The NCVR focuses on agreeing the resources and price needed to set up research within a NHS provider site. This work forms part of a broader common goal to ensure clinical research continues to thrive in the UK, for the benefit of patients and the public.

From 1 April 2022, The NCVR will begin to replace the current time-consuming process whereby each NHS organisation negotiates with each commercial sponsor for every study in order to agree bespoke contract value. The NCVR process will speed up clinical trial set up times and make the UK a more attractive place for international commercial organisations to undertake research studies, ensuring our patients have rapid access to cutting edge treatments.

NCVR core components

Work on the NCVR process began in 2018/19 but was paused due to Covid-19. The NCVR is underpinned by the National standard contract and the National directive on commercial research studies

A staged approach to implementing NCVR is being taken. The first stage began in April 2022. The final NCVR process will be informed by learning from stage one which will include:

  • Site specific organisational prices will be available to commercial companies prior to site selection,
  • Costs will be transparent,
  • A single national negotiation of study costs will take place with no local negotiation.

Stage one of the NCVR Implementation will have two core elements:

  • Data will be gathered to identify whether a study site intends to adhere to their local prices as generated by the standard costing methodology. The information on adherence will be made available to companies prior to site selection.
  • From summer 2022 the introduction of the contract value review process will begin. This will involve assessment of the consistency of the research study protocol activities and the completed costing template, together with the negotiation of the resource required to deliver the protocol at any UK-based NHS location. NCVR contract value review coordinators will carry out the review.

Detailed operational/technical information on Stage One of NCVR Implementation including detailed requirements for NHS study sight can be found on our national contract value review – operational details web page.