PFI Housing and Hospitals

PAC Hearing 21 November 2010 – NAO Report into "Operational NHS PFI projects"

In my answer to Q118, I stated that completion of the Estates Return Information Collection (ERIC) database is not obligatory for all NHS trusts, whereas the footnote to fig 11, p.25 of the report states that it is. On the request of the Clerk to the Committee, I have again looked at this issue and I accept this answer was not fully correct and could mislead, and the note below clarifies the position.

The discussion prior to this question related to specific costing data on the ERIC database, and if this should be used as a basis for determining if trusts were being charged rates in their PFI scheme that were over market norms. The data in ERIC is collected at Trust or site level. Sites, as used in ERIC, can be either PFI, non-PFI or a combination of the two. This means that the costing data in ERIC can be a combination of that relating to PFI and non-PFI. No data on the split between them is collected by ERIC or is available from other sources. Trust level data is not attributable to sites. It is thus impossible to ascertain if data applies to PFI or non-PFI costs and therefore cannot be used as the basis for comparatives between PFI and non-PFI rates.

I also confirm that it is not possible, under current rules, to require Foundation Trusts to split the PFI specific data out, and the position remains that ERIC data is not suitable as a basis for analysing PFI costs.

On the more general question of the requirement for all trusts to complete the current ERIC database, the attached spreadsheet details all the fields on the current ERIC return, and their status. Of the 100 fields, 37 or 37% are not compulsory for FTs to complete. However, on average between 70-80% of FTs have completed these fields.

The correct position is therefore that just over 60% of the fields in the current ERIC return are mandatory, with completion of the remainder is discretional for FTs.

Please accept my apologies if the Committee were misled by my reply.

Peter Coates

Commercial Director

Department of Health