The Unit Cost Database

An evidence base of costs

What is in it? 

The Unit Cost Database is a spreadsheet with information on over 600 cost and benefit estimates. These figures mainly come from government reports and academic studies and cover the areas of crime, education & skills, employment & economy, fire, health, housing and social services.

How can it help me? 

Having access to this information can help users to calculate the costs and benefits associated with their programme or project. These estimates can be further used in the users’ organisations for proposals, evaluations and redesigns. 

The costs and benefits are broken down into fiscal value (costs or savings to the public sector that are due to a specific project), economic value (net increase in earnings or growth in the local economy) and social value (wider gains to society e.g. improved health or reduced crime).  The database also includes details of the government agency bearing the cost or making the fiscal saving.

Most costs are based on national research and may not correspond exactly to local costs. Users may want to undertake research into costs in their area, or apply an appropriate discount to account for regional variations.

Who is it for?

However the information on the database is used, it is useful to reflect on the areas of government spending where your programmes may have an impact. It may also help readers understand what commissioners are likely to be interested in and can be used within organisations conducting detailed cost-benefit analysis.  

The wealth of information can be overwhelming, however the guidance and explanation within the database means the user can simply refer to information relevant to their organisation.

Where can I access it? 

New Economy’s website