Health and social care

Confirmed impacts: Helping to improve accountability in the health system

This impacts case study shows how our frequent highlighting of the need for consistent and reliable data and clearer accountability has improved reporting and data assurance in the health system.

It is one example of financial or non-financial benefits realised in 2014 as a result of our involvement, all of which are set out in our interactive PDF.

Doctor and patient talking

Impacts case study

Strong and clear accountability in a devolved delivery system has been a common theme running through our recent health studies and our work has highlighted examples where accountability required further definition. Obtaining consistent and reliable data is also an important element of strong accountability, something we have considered.

What are impacts?

Our 2013 report on maternity services in England recommended that the Department of Health clarify its objectives for maternity services and explicitly state who was accountable for their implementation. The department clarified these accountabilities in its revised Accounting Officer System Statement, published in October 2014. Our 2014 report on NHS waiting times for elective care in England recommended the department clarify its assurance processes over the data quality for waiting lists. Following our report, Monitor amended its annual reporting guidance to require all NHS foundation trusts to include in their annual governance statements an explicit statement on how they assure data quality, accuracy and risk.