News / New data checker to support faster costing submission

01 September 2023 Hayley Ringrose and Steve Brown

The tool – known as the data validation engine (DVE) – replaces the previous data checker and is now cloud-based, meaning trusts don’t need to install the tool and run their data locally. Validation is carried out on all submitted files and any files that do not generate error reports will be passed through for automatic submission.Calculator

Trusts receive error reports for any failed submissions. In a webinar this week to introduce the new DVE, NHS England said that error reports should be available within hours of putting the data through the tool.

The aim is to speed up the process of submitting costed activity, a key objective for reducing the submission burden of the NCC on costing practitioners.

There have been delays to this year’s NCC submission with the costing window now timetabled to open on 16 October – the most recent delay (moving the collection back a month from mid-September) was specifically to allow more time to test the new DVE.

The NHS England team told practitioners that the DVE may not be available ahead of the 16 October date. Practitioners raised some concerns about this, as it could delay internal validation checks. If errors arise from initial use of the tool, there is a risk that organisations may struggle to make an initial submission during the three-week open window and/or their regional named days during week four.

Trusts do have the option to volunteer to take part in testing the DVE, which would give them earlier access to an in-development version to use on their own data. However, all submissions will be subject to passing through the final published version.

During the webinar, attendees asked for clarification on the board sign off process for the NCC, especially in context of the delayed DVE. The NHS England costing team confirmed that trusts should send an email to [email protected] on the day of submission with evidence of director of finance sign off. A subsequent email confirming full board approval should follow at an appropriate time.