Select Committee on Public Accounts Forty-Seventh Report

3  Evaluating the impact of LIFT

19. The first LIFT building to become operational, the Church Road centre in Newham, opened in Autumn 2004. It will be several years before the full impact of the LIFT initiative, particularly in terms of health outcomes, can be evaluated fully. Nevertheless, the arrangements in place for evaluation and performance measurement need to be robust to ensure that the impact of LIFT, and whether it is meeting its objectives, can be assessed.[29]

20. The Strategic Partnering Agreement, to which all partners in a LIFT scheme sign-up, requires the LIFTCo to demonstrate that it is delivering value for money in relation to new projects by market testing or benchmarking. Market testing is undertaken at minimum at five year intervals. In the first five years the LIFTCo is allowed to demonstrate value for money through the production of benchmarking data. Any relevant data, such as the costs agreed as a result of the original competition or trends in the area, nationally and on other LIFT projects, can be taken into account.[30]

21. Comparing the value for money of LIFT with other procurement routes is not straightforward because the LIFT framework is designed to offer tenants more and better services than obtainable under a standard commercial lease. LIFT also delivers a broader and more complex range of services to patients than typical primary care premises. Moreover, the contribution of the LIFT initiative to better health outcomes or to the wider community, for example in terms of meeting a local regeneration agenda, is hard to quantify.[31]

22. The Department and Partnerships for Health have not yet developed a mechanism for evaluating the impact of LIFT in terms of its broader aims or in comparison to other primary care procurement routes.[32] Partnerships for Health have therefore commissioned further work to evaluate the long term impact and value for money of LIFT. They are currently scoping the likely format of an evaluative tool, with input from local LIFTCos.[33] The aim is to assess the cost of providing facilities, the benefits to patients and the impact on longer term health outcomes.[34]

23. The measurement of health outcomes, however, is the least straightforward aspect of a benchmarking tool to define. Proxy measures related to key local health problems identified in the Strategic Service Development Plan could, however, be developed. For example, if a plan identified a high level of lung cancer or obesity as key local issues then a priority for LIFT would be to contribute to reducing the proportion of the population who are smoke or are obese over the longer term. In the short term, however, an indicative measure could be the number of additional smoking cessation clinics or healthy eating classes taking place as a result of LIFT.[35]

29   C&AG's Report, para 13, recommendation 9; Q 7 Back

30   C&AG's Report, para 2.33 Back

31   ibid, para 2.20; Qq 89-91 Back

32   C&AG's Report, para 1.27; Q 12 Back

33   C&AG's Report, para 2.33; Qq 18-19 Back

34   Q 90 Back

35   C&AG's Report, para 3.10 Back

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