Research Design Service: East Midlands
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HTA - spending wisely when managing delays

  Created on Friday, 17 Jan 2020. Posted in Funding

The HTA vlog this month talks about dealing with delays in projects and how to manage funds wisely.

Trials sometimes face delays in start-up due to negotiating contracts, study drugs and placebos manufacture, data linkage agreements or in completing the feasibility stages of the project. These delays have a knock on effect for the completion date of trials that require a contract variation for extra time and money. Requests for extra funds however are not easily granted as they are viewed in competition with new funding proposals. Research teams need to make it as attractive as possible to funders to grant extensions. One way to do that is to show that you've been a good guardian of public funds and during the delay period you've built up an underspend which can be off set against the contract variation to complete the project.

Measures to build up an underspend could be suspending payments to those not working on the project during the delay period or redeploying trial staff until they are needed. It's always good to keep the sponsors and HTA secretariat informed about delays and your plans to mitigate costs. Although underspend needs to be returned on an annual basis to comply with the government's annual reconciliation rules the underspend returns will not affect the overall funding envelope agreed with the programme and can be used in the extension period.