Understanding your service

Home   –   Making the case   –   Developing champions –   Where to get help   –   What worked elsewhere   –   References  –   How to contribute


In making the case it is important that you are able to understand your own service and have the evidence at your fingertips on the effectiveness, cost, value and impact of your service.  This section provides tips and guidance on the tools and their application that can be used.  There are also case studies where LKS services have successfully applied the tools and demonstrated the importance of having this information available.

Guidance and Resources

Below is a range of tools that can be used to understand your service. In most cases a single tool cannot be used in isolation but should be used to collect the evidence that can be applied to build the picture of your service and contribute to making the case.

a. Activity and Finance Data

Understanding the costs and how your service is used is important to demonstrate both effectiveness and efficiency, whilst also providing some of the evidence required to show return on investment and improvements.

The data collected in the annual statistical return shows the activity and is particularly useful for understanding trends and variations, –and also as an indicator of areas for investigation to understand the impact of any changes introduced.
Costing tools, such as the NHS libraries Costing tool, provide an understanding of how cost effective your service is.  Application of this data could be used as part of the case for reviewing cost improvements, and also ways of working and skill mix.
http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/forlibrarystaff/membersarea/nhscostingframework/ (registration required)

b. Quality Assessment

Quality assessment is important to demonstrate how the service is continually improving and has a plan in place to support further development.  Assessment identifies both strengths of the service as well as any barriers to progress, some of which may be corporate, such as Trust IT.
The Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) is the main tool for Health Libraries to assess quality and plan for improvement.  http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/forlibrarystaff/lqaf/
LQAF supports continuous assessment and improvement and is not a tool that was developed to be used just once a year. LQAF provides a clear focus for action planning across all NHS organisations, driving forward a quality improvement plan, offering clarity of direction for service managers and transparency of development to meet business and client need.


Top Tip:

Be ready to demonstrate where you are in terms of compliance today and quality improvements achieved over the last three months.

c. Value and Impact

Evidence of the impact the service makes on patient care is important to prove value to management decision makers who are ultimately responsible for allocating resources to LKS.

As part of the Knowledge for Healthcare work programme, the NHS value and impact toolkit has been updated. This is a practical tool that can be used in the range of LKS contributing to a successful NHS, enabling the capture of actions with an impact which demonstrate value and the difference that they make in their client organisations.

The working definitions on impact and value:

Impact: difference or change in an individual or group resulting from the contact with library services

Value: perceived-value approach which relies on an individual’s own perception of the value of an impact.

The value and impact toolkit can be found at  http://kfh.libraryservices.nhs.uk/value-and-impact-toolkit/

Top Tip

Each LKS should have an impact case study for: ·

  • Clinical Effectiveness and patient care
  • Cost Benefit
  • Sustainability


d. Metrics and KPIs

Identification and measurement of key metrics can demonstrate the successful performance of a service.

As part of the Knowledge for Healthcare metrics for success work-stream, the task and finish group has identified principles that can be used by local services and national working groups to develop the metrics that will allow useful service development and dialogue with stakeholders.
The report outlining the principles of successful metrics is available at 
http://kfh.libraryservices.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Metrics-Principles-Report-Final-2016.pdf  plus the Quality metrics template

e. Benchmarking

To make the case it is often useful to put your service in a wider context which can be achieved through benchmarking.  You may want to benchmark against comparable services e.g. same focus, same size etc. or to carry out a more selective comparison that will appeal to your organisation such as with a neighbouring organisation.

Much of the information about individual services is not always in the public domain.  HEE local leads do hold some of the information so they are always a good contact to start with.

Case Studies

Nottingham – recruitment to a vacant post
(Contacts: Maria Brown: maria.brown@nuh.nhs.uk & Nicola Smart: nicola.smart@nuh.nhs.uk)

Peterborough – Self-issue metrics