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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The aim is to assess the cost of providing facilities, the benefits
to patients and the impact on longer term health outcomes.
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.
29 C&AG's Report, para 13, recommendation 9; Q
C&AG's Report, para 2.33 Back
ibid, para 2.20; Qq 89-91 Back
C&AG's Report, para 1.27; Q 12 Back
C&AG's Report, para 2.33; Qq 18-19 Back
Q 90 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.10 Back