Approved Costing Guidance

The Approved Costing Guidance explains how NHS trusts should cost at patient level using the costing standards and then submit cost data using the National Cost Collection guidance. It is updated annually.  

The collection of patient-level costing data helps the NHS manage costs, improve productivity, eliminate unwarranted variation and, overall, improve services for patients. 


What is the Approved Costing Guidance?

The Approved Costing Guidance (ACG) comprises the documentation and tools for providers of NHS services to submit National Cost Collection (NCC) data.

The main audience for the guidance is healthcare costing professionals but they have also been written with secondary audiences in mind, such as clinicians, and informatics and finance colleagues. The use of the term ‘patient’ across all sectors allows us to maintain consistency in the standards for an individual’s entire health and social care pathway.

Approved Costing Guidance for 2024

All the prescribed guidance for the 2024 submission for all sectors is listed below.

Introduction and general guidance (all sectors) Date published/updated
Introduction to the Approved Costing Guidance 6 March 2024
Summary of changes 6 March 2024
The costing principles 6 March 2024
Costing diagram 6 March 2024
Quick guide 6 March 2024
Costing glossary 6 March 2024
DVE business rules 24 June 2024
Integrated standards, guidance and technical documents
Integrated costing standards 6 March 2024
Integrated National Cost Collection guidance  22 May 2024
Integrated technical document 6 March 2024
Integrated extract specification 22 May 2024
Integrated schema 6 March 2024
Ambulance standards, guidance and technical documents
Ambulance costing standards 6 March 2024
Ambulance National Cost Collection guidance 6 March 2024
Ambulance technical document 3 June 2024
Ambulance extract specification 6 March 2024
Ambulance schema 6 March 2024

Supporting content

Supporting content is available on the FutureNHS costing workspace to support costing practitioners primarily in the Supporting the Approved Costing Guidance and Supporting the National Cost Collection sections. Links to the PLICS dashboards are on the Data Insight Hub.

Resources include:

  • Minimum software requirements
  • Resource application hierarchy
  • Briefing papers
  • Learning extensions
  • Quantum reconciliation templates

Archived guidance

The 2021, 2022 and 2023 Approved Costing Guidance can be found at the Approved Costing Guidance archive.


For further support and advice please contact us at You can also sign up for our FutureNHS costing workspace for more resources and support options.