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Department of Health

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL3140, tabled on 29 October 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who are the members of, and what are the terms of reference for, the Department of Health's Appraisal Alignment Working Group.

Answered on

9 November 2015

The current membership of the Appraisal Alignment Working Group is as follows:

Department of Health

Keith Derbyshire (Chair) Chief Analyst and Chief Economist

Danny Palnoch Senior Economic Adviser

Peter Bennett Senior Operational Research Scientist

Dr Mark Bale Deputy Chief Medical Officer

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Leeza Osipenko Associate Director

Meindert Boysen Associate Director

Public Health England

Prof Brian Ferguson Director for Knowledge & Intelligence

Dr Anne Mackie Director of Screening


John Curnow Economics Project Director

Zephan Trent Impact Assessment Lead

NHS England

Dr Donald Franklin Senior Economic Adviser NHS England

Amy Lee Economic Advisor

Brunel University

Prof Martin Buxton Emeritus Professor of Health Economics

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Representing Joint Committee for Vaccines and Immunisations and Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs

Prof John Cairns Professor of Health Economics

The current Terms of Reference (agreed with ministers in February 2014) is replicated below:

Appraisal Alignment Working Group [AAWG] Terms of Reference & Objectives

The Appraisal Alignment Working Group (AAWG) is comprised of policy and analytic staff who work in, or give advice to, DH and its ALBs on the cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness of programmes, technologies and policies.

The purpose of the group is to share knowledge on the various techniques employed across the Health and Care sector, to discuss and debate the pros and cons of different approaches employed, to consider ways of rendering results comparable, and to understand the reasons for differences in approaches.

The working group is not a decision making body. Rather it is advisory. Individual members representing different organisations will take back recommendations and questions to their parent bodies for consideration.

It is proposed to have meetings every six to eight weeks to achieve the ‘Must Do’ (e.g. primary) objective described below.

The ‘Must Do’

Before the next Spending Review, (pencilled in for June to October 2015), it is essential the Department of Health (DH) and its Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) can present a consistent approach o HM Treasury (HMT) on the cost benefit of different programmes (e.g. vaccinations, screening new technologies). The cost benefit case for spending presented to HMT should follow public sector best practice as set out by HMT, in its Green Book. Therefore results of appraisals need to be capable of being expressed in HMT Green Book methodology terms (ie using the Green Book methodology as a “reference case”).

Having successfully achieved that, the Working Group will take stock and decide if the group (or some other forum) should continue and progress on three desiderata:

  1. economic justification for methods employed in each area and clear rationale for when methods differ and/or diverge from HMT’s Green Book.
  2. achieve greater alignment of techniques between the different sectors and organisations
  3. serve as an expert panel to advise on the development and application of new techniques on an on-going basis.

This work would be less time critical and could be pursued by meetings every eight to twelve weeks.