Comparable performance in the initiation of clinical research

Since autumn 2011, new NIHR contracts with providers of NHS services require contractors to publish information on performance in initiating and delivering clinical trials on a quarterly basis. The Government’s Plan for Growth published in March 2011, announced the transformation of incentives at local level for efficiency in initiation and delivery of research. This shows a commitment to making performance transparent and accountable, routinely enabling comparisons of research sites with one another, and against international benchmarks.

NIHR recognises that some providers of NHS services need to develop new systems and change ways of working, and that this takes time. NIHR continues to work with providers of NHS services, feeding back on data quality and relative performance, and sharing insights on achieving the required operational changes.

From Quarter 1 2014-15, providers of NHS services with new NIHR contracts had the requirement of publishing their organisation’s performance against the 70 day benchmark on their website. Each quarter, beginning with Quarter 1 2014-15, NIHR published a table of performance information against the 70 day benchmark; this information has been archived, but is still available here.

As of Quarter 1 2018-19, improvement in clinical trial performance and reducing site set up and participant recruitment time will no longer be assessed with a 70 day benchmark. A renewed focus will be placed on transparency, accuracy, and meeting sponsor expectations. With this in mind, a fresh set of comparable performance analyses will be available after the Quarter 1 2018-19 submission, and will appear on this page.

Any questions about these comparable performance analyses, or those that have been archived, should be directed to the CTP team at