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 to create a Costing Transformation Programme (CTP) compliant model.

The main audience for the guidance is healthcare costing professionals, but they have also been written with secondary audiences in mind, such as clinicians, 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 2023

All of the prescribed guidance for the 2023 submission for all sectors are listed below.

Introduction and general guidance (all sectors) Date published/updated
Introduction to the Approved Costing Guidance 7 June 2023
Summary of changes 7 June 2023
The costing principles 7 June 2023
Costing diagram 7 June 2023
Quick guide 7 June 2023
Costing glossary 7 June 2023
Integrated standards, guidance and technical documents
Integrated costing standards 7 June 2023
Integrated National Cost Collection guidance 14 June 2023
Integrated technical document 7 June 2023
Integrated transition path 7 June 2023
Integrated extract specification 25 July 2023
Integrated schema 2 October 2023
Ambulance standards, guidance and technical documents
Ambulance costing standards 7 June 2023
Ambulance National Cost Collection guidance 7 June 2023
Ambulance technical document 7 June 2023
Ambulance transition path 7 June 2023
Ambulance extract specification 7 June 2023
Ambulance schema 14 August 2023

Self-help and learning extensions

Supporting content for the 2023 Approved Costing Guidance is available on the FutureNHS costing workspace to support costing practitioners to effectively implement the mandated guidance and to provide compliant cost data submissions. They can be found primarily in the Self, help, learning extensions and tools  and the Useful items sections of the workspace. In addition, the FAQs are on the National Cost Collection page and links to the PLICS dashboards are on the Data Insight Hub.

Self help resources include:

  • ICAL
  • Minimum software requirements
  • Resource application hierarchy
  • Data validation engine draft business rules
  • Briefing papers
  • Learning extensions

Useful items include:

  • COVID-19 recommendations
  • Quantum reconciliation templates

Archived guidance

The 2021 and 2022 Approved Costing Guidance and self-help learning extensions and tools can be found at the Approved Costing Guidance archive.


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