Friday, February 09, 2007

NAO report on Dr Foster

The UK's National Audit Office has recently released the report of it's findings into Dr Foster Intelligence: A joint venture between the Information Centre and Dr Foster LLP

It describes how the Health and Social Care Information Centre (now renamed as the Information Centre) set up a partnership with a private company Dr Foster Ltd, which would publish the data from the Information Centre to the general public as Dr Foster Intelligence.

The deal is seriously critical of the failure to put the contract out to tender and the failure to get value for taxpayers money.

The report says:
“Although the department believes it acted as a market investor in negotiating a realistic price, we calculate that the IC paid between 33 and 53 per cent more than the advisor’s highest indicative valuation based solely on the acknowledged strategic premium of between £2.5 and £4 million.

“As the joint venture does not deliver any direct or measurable services to the IC, it is an investment in a private company for which the IC paid a strategic premium without gaining a controlling interest".

I first mentioned my concerns with this in a Feb 06 piece Frequent flyers' costing NHS £2.3bn a year and then in March Paying for data your taxes paid for and April Is NHS data there for any company - or just one? based on articles by Michael Cross in the Guardian.

It is nice to see some of these concerns being recognised.

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