Local eresources and systems audit 2021

Published on 22 October 2021, by Richard Bridgen

Electronic resources, Statistics and data, Resource Discovery

About the audit carried out in 2021

Thank you to all who completed the 2021 Local eResources and Systems Audit.  The audit recorded purchases in 2020.  

We have analysed the 133 returns received and also compared the data with the 2019 audit. 

This data influences national spend on eresources.  For example, we used the data from the 2019 audit to successfully make the case for national procurement of BMJ Best Practice.   

We have also used it to negotiate deals for electronic resources to which a high number of KLS subscribe based on our preferred FTE pricing model. 

This model aims to reduce variations in pricing for similar sized Trusts and therefore make costs more equitable and transparent across KLS.  The model bases pricing of relevant FTE staff numbers of the workforce.   

Recent examples include the Wiley Medicine and Nursing Collection, the pricing for which is tiered based on FTEs of the medical and nursing workforce, the Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures and the Mark Allen Group’s ejournal collections. 

Highlights from the 2021 audit  

To enable like-for-like comparisons, we have used the data only from those KLS which completed returns for both the 2019 and 2021 audits. 

Not all KLS submitted cost data, so total spend will be higher 

  • We received 25 fewer returns than in 2019, a 15.8% drop. 

  • Total spend was £8,839,112 a 15.2% increase on 2019 in KLS completing both audits.  This is most likely due to one-off additional money related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Spend and organisational access of selected eresource types 

Anatomy/Visual Reference Tool 

  • Declared spend: £76,224 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 46, 3 more than 2019 

Clinical Procedure Manuals/Training 

  • Declared spend: £306,723, a 27% increase on 2019 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 134, 12 more than 2019 

Combined database of different formats 

  • Declared spend: £1,671,120, a 33% increase on 2019 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 65, 9 more than 2019 

eBook collection 

  • Declared spend: £303,689, a 21% increase on 2019 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 165, 15 more than 2019 


  • Declared spend: £4,899,992, a 41% increase on 2019 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 1815, 238 more than 2019 

  • Ejournal archives are analysed separately.  Total spend on these in 2021 was £129,195, a 110% increase on 2019. 

Point of care tool excluding BMJ Best Practice 

  • Declared spend: £1,783,135 a 30% decrease on 2019 

  • No of organisations with access to this type of resource: 94, 24 fewer than 2019 

Consortial spend 

There was also an 102% increase in spend where eresources were bought as part of consortia to £1,013,699.  313 organisations have access to resources bought through consortial arrangements. 

HEE negotiated deals 

There have been increases in the number of organisations with access to the resources where HEE has negotiated national deals: 

  • Royal Marsden Manual (+12) 

  • MAH Complete (+24) 

  • Wiley Medical and Nursing Collection (+12) 

  • KnowledgeShare (+23) 

Numbers show increases in the number of organisations with access where KLS have completed both the 2019 and 2021 audits. 

Mental Health and Community Care 

  • Total reported spend in KLS serving mental health and community care was £1,176,305 

  • Spend in KLS serving mental health alone was £350,144 

  • Spend in KLS serving community care alone was £72,325 


The five biggest suppliers remain Wolters Kluwer, EBSCO, Wiley, Elsevier and Mark Allen. 

FTE analysis 

We have also analysed the data by FTEs and Cost/FTE using national workforce data from NHS Digital.  This is to show any variations in pricing. 

Where costs were declared, the cost has been divided by total workforce FTEs for the organisation for which the resource was purchased. 

The minimum to maximum cost/FTE has been shown for small, medium, large and super-sized Trusts. 

The differences between the minimum and maximum cost/FTE is largest in point of care tools and smallest in databases. 

HEE will continue to talk to suppliers about reducing variations is pricing and to adopt our preferred pricing model of FTEs of the relevant workforce. 

An anonymised version of the data is available on the HEE SharePoint site.  This values only spreadsheet does not show individual Trust or KLS data.  It is for use by KLS staff only. 

If you would like to access the analysis, contact [email protected]


Richard Bridgen

Knowledge and Library Services Development Manager

Health Education England


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