Unit Cost Database

This unit cost database brings together more than 800 cost estimates in a single place, most of which are national costs derived from government reports and academic studies. The costs cover crime, education & skills, employment & economy, fire, health, housing, and social services. The derivation of the costs and the calculations underpinning them have been quality assured by New Economy in co-operation with HM Government. These costs can be used to inform proposals for the implementation of new interventions, the redesign of public services or their evaluation. Having access to such information helps project managers to forecast the costs and benefits associated with their programme or project, prior to the undertaking of more detailed Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA).


Costs are ‘grouped’ into three categories – these can be opened up and closed using the three small boxes towards the top left of the worksheet (numbered 1, 2 and 3), or for individual groups of costs, using the ‘+’ signs to the left of many of the rows. The three categories are:

1. Headline costs – these are key cost areas across a number of different sub-themes, most of which are underpinned by subsidiary and/or constituent costs (see below). When first opening up the database, the initial view should be the headline costs alone.

2. Subsidiary costs – these are cost lines that are related to the headline costs, covering a similar thematic area, but of secondary importance. Some are underpinned by constituent costs. The subsidiary costs are opened up using the secondary level grouping.

3. Constituent costs – these are the constituent costs from which the ‘parent’ headline or subsidiary cost is derived. The constituent costs are opened up using the third level grouping.

Note that the data are indicative, providing a generic indication of the likely scale of costs for different interventions and outcomes. Most costs are based on national research and therefore may not correspond exactly to local costs. In order to develop locally specific data, users may want to undertake research into costs in their area, or apply an appropriate discount to account for regional variations.

Unit Cost Database

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