Local clinical excellence award (LCEA) arrangements: before 1 April 2022

This page contains information for LCEAs before 2022. It includes the investment fund calculation, our guidance for 2018-2021 awards rounds and FAQs.

31 January 2023

Briefings and statements

Here you can find information on the joint statement 2021-22 and the employer briefing for calculating funds.

Joint statement 2021-22 

Please read our April 2021 joint statement (PDF) about this from NHS Employers, the British Medical Association (BMA) and HCSA.

Calculating funds for 2021-22 

Read our employer briefing that explains how to calculate the investment funds for the 2021 round.


Please see our 2018-21 LCEA guidance document, for advice and information around investment calculation, covering 2018/19 - 2020/21.

Funding calculation

  • The formula for calculating the minimum funds for investment in new local clinical excellence awards (LCEAs) each year is:

    number of eligible consultants x investment ratio x unit value of an award

    Each element of the formula is dynamic:

    • the number of eligible consultants in an organisation is unlikely to remain static year on year
    • the investment ratio has been subject to change
    • the unit value of an award has been updated following the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) recommendations.

    The funds for investment are cumulative over the period. The build up in the level of investment awards over the four-year period reflects previous investment levels, as awards were paid on a consolidated basis until retirement. Under the schedule 30 arrangements, awards are time limited and non-consolidated, allowing for reinvestment of the released funds when the award ends. The released funds are then added to the investment funds for new LCEAs for the following year up to 2021/22.

    Should there be any net underspend in previous calculations then these should be rectified during the 2021/22 award round, under an equal distribution approach, (see supporting joint statement (PDF)). Under no circumstance should employers retrospectively adjust the value of awards paid to individual consultants in previous years.

    The arrangements from 1 April 2022, have yet to be agreed and will be communicated in due course.

  • The investment ratio for the years, 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2022, for LCEAs rounds are specified below. The basis of calculation (headcount or full-time equivalent (FTE)) is shown.


    In year additional funding


    (Points per eligible consultant)

    Total funding on new LCEAs each year (cumulative)


    (Points per eligible consultant for that year)


    0.3 multiplied by headcount

    0.3 multiplied by headcount


    0.3 multiplied by headcount

    0.6 multiplied by headcount


    0.424 multiplied by headcount

    1.024 multiplied by headcount


    0.218 multiplied by FTE

    (1.024 multiplied by headcount) + (0.218 multiplied by FTE)

    The cumulative effect for 2021/22 is therefore (1.024 points multiplied by headcount) for the period to 2020/21 plus (0.218 points multiplied by FTE) for 2021/22.

    As noted above, the cumulative build up in the level of investment over the four-year period reflects previous investment levels (prior to 2018), as awards were paid on a consolidated basis until retirement. 

    1. Determine the number of eligible consultants (FTE) on 1 April 2021.
    2. Determine the number of eligible consultants (headcount) on 1 April 2021. 
    3. Multiply the number of eligible consultants (FTE) by 0.218 (the points per FTE for 2021/22).
    4. Multiply the number of eligible consultants (headcount) by 1.024 (the cumulative investment from previous years).  
    5. Add totals from points 3 and 4 together and multiply by the unit value of an award (£3,092).*
    6. Add any net underspends against minimum investment value from previous years.
    7. Deduct the cost of any time limited awards that remain in payment from the 2019 and 2020 award rounds (on-costs should be excluded).
    8. Offer new awards, ensuring the total value of those awards is no less than the calculation above. 

    * As set out in the pay and conditions circular (M&D) 3/2021

    Please see the briefings and statements, and guidance sections above.

Financial Monitoring Tool 2021 - 2022

We have prepared an Excel based tool to help employers:

  • ensure minimum level of funds for investment in LCEAs in 2021/22 have been allocated
  • develop the financial element of their end of year report.

The sheets for rounds before 2021/22 contain all of the data needed to calculate the difference between the cumulative minimum investment required and actual LCEA spend over the interim period for 2021/22. These should not be seen as being full statements of LCEA spend in those years. Any net underspends identified should be rectified during the 2021/22 award round under an equal distribution approach.

Download the LCEA financial monitoring spreadsheet. (Opens Excel)

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

This below section contains information that responds to the frequently asked questions from employers about the LCEA scheme. These FAQs are relevant to award rounds between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2022.

  • Q1. Are there any changes to eligibility for the 2021-22 round? 

    Yes. 2021-22 is an additional year of the interim agreement (given that schedule 30 arrangements have been extended due to the pandemic; schedule 30 is being amended accordingly and will be published soon). As above, employers are to equally distribute the funds among all consultants, to enable employers and doctors to focus on the impact of the pandemic, and recovery efforts. Some changes to normal eligibility criteria have been agreed for this year (as set out below).

    Funding that will have been allocated to employers to pay for new LCEA in respect of 2020-2021 together with any outstanding LCEA funding which has been rolled over since 2018, shall be distributed equally among all eligible consultants by way of a one-off non-consolidated payment through the employer’s payroll. It has now been agreed, as part of the amended schedule 30 provisions extending to the 2021-22 round, that this equal distribution shall include and be made in full to consultants on the 2003 terms and conditions that have completed a minimum of 12 months of service and who:

    • are working part time
    • are not at work by reason of sickness, including sickness or self- isolation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • are absent on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave
    • are clinical academics employed via an honorary contract (which applies the terms set out in schedule 23)
    • are working for multiple employers and will only be eligible for a single payment from their main substantive employer)
    • are employed on a fixed term basis.

    Q2. Does the 12 months minimum service eligibility requirement need to be continuous?

    For a consultant to be eligible they should have at least 12 month's service as a consultant employed on the 2003 TCS as at 1 April 2021. The one year of service does not need to be continuous or with the same employer.  

    Q3. Are locum consultants eligible?

    The minimum criteria for eligibility for an award is set out in FAQ 1, which stipulates that equal distribution shall include and be made in full to consultants on the 2003 TCS that have completed a minimum of 12 months of service. This includes those on fixed term contracts employed under 2003 TCS  

    We understand that the term ‘locum’ is used variably across trusts and that there are some locum consultants who have been in post longer than the recommended 6 to 12 months. For the purposes of eligibility, providing the locum consultant has met the minimum criteria for eligibility (as set out in Q1.) they could be eligible for an award. Agency locums should not be eligible. 

    Q4 Is there any flexibility to agree eligibility outside the criteria set out in FAQ 1?

    Yes, employers may use their discretion with agreement from their joint local negotiating committee (JLNC) to extend eligibility beyond the criteria set out in FAQ 1, with the understanding that this would dilute the pot for those already eligible. Alternatively, employers could choose to top up the investment to prevent dilution. 

    Q5. Is entry on the specialist register essential to be considered eligible for an award? 

    If someone is employed as a consultant on the 2003 TCS, they should be fully registered on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC) or specialist list of the General Dental Council (GDC). This is expressed in the LCEA guidance. The negotiation parties recognise that some doctors may be temporarily employed under the 2003 terms without being on the register. In such circumstances, and where the individual meets all other criteria the national negotiation parties are content that access to the arrangements can be agreed locally.  

    Q6. Are NCEA holders, L9 award holders, consultants working in general management positions, or those with conduct warnings ineligible under the equal distribution arrangements in 2021-22?  

    Yes, these consultants are still ineligible, as set out in the LCEA guidance, although some flexibility to extend eligibility locally is applicable - as per Q4.   

    As per Q4, employers may use their discretion with agreement from their joint local negotiating committee (JLNC) to extend eligibility beyond the criteria set out, subject to the conditions in Q4.

    Q7. Should Level 9 award holders and NCEA award holders be counted in the funding calculations?

    Level 9, NCEA and distinction award holders are not included in the funding investment calculations.  

    Q8. Consultants who work less-than full time (LTFT) are entitled to awards as per the LCEA guidance, but these are usually pro-rated in line with their working hours. Should we pro-rata the payment, or pay our LTFT consultants an equal share of the funds?

    As above, consultants who are working part time should receive an equal share of the award pot in 2021-22.

    Q9. If an LTFT consultant works across two organisations, which organisation would pay for their award? 

    In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 rounds, as there is an equal distribution of awards across all eligible consultants, the principle should be that no doctor should receive more than one full-time award in 2020-21 or 2021-22. The consultant also has a responsibility to ensure that this does not happen and to flag with their employer any concerns about this. However employers are free to agree locally:

      • Which employer is the principal employer, and should therefore pay the award.
      • Whether there should be a contribution from the secondary employer if that is deemed fair.
      • Or if each employer pays a proportion of the award.

    Q10. Should SAS doctors or trust grades working under the 2003 terms and conditions of service (TCS) be eligible?                              

    Access to the LCEA scheme is a contractual entitlement for all consultants employed on the 2003 terms and conditions who meet the other eligibility criteria (as set out in Q1). If a SAS doctor is acting up but remains on the Specialty doctor contract, they do not have a contractual entitlement to receive an LCEA payment. However, eligibility may be extended via local agreement as set out in Q4. 

    Please note however, that eligibility for calculating the funding pot is based on all consultants irrespective of which contract they are employed on (except Level 9 and NCEA holders), and on headcount not FTE status, except for the additional funding in 2021-22 of 0.218 FTE. (Please read our employer briefing which explains how to calculate the investment funds for the 2021-22 LCEA round. This page includes a new financial monitoring tool to support you to do this.) 

    Q11. When a consultant starts in a new locum post are we required to pay a previous CEA award?

    No, they would not be entitled. The LCEA arrangements applied to their previous post, which was fulfilled, as were the previous award arrangements.  

    Q12. How should any identified LCEA underspend from 2018-2021 be addressed?

    Any identified underspend from the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 years should be paid out in the 2021-22 award year. Please read our employer briefing which explains how to calculate the investment funds for the 2021-22 LCEA round.  

    Q13. If a trust is unable to make the payment before April, can it be carried forward? 

    Contractually, no, employers are obliged to make the payment in year and any employer breaching this may be subject to legal challenge. If trusts are experiencing difficulties making the 2021-22 LCEA payments on time, they need to agree arrangements locally to ensure payments are made as soon as possible. Trusts need to ensure funding for the current LCEA arrangements is not carried forwards into the LCEA arrangements from April 2022. 

    Q14. What is the difference between the additional funding ratio for each year and the cumulative funding, in reference to the ‘calculating the minimum funds for investment in the 2021/22 employer briefing? 

    The additional funding ratio and the cumulative funding are describing the build-up of investment over the years. The ‘in year additional funding column’ simply sets the annual investment ratio as agreed by the parties to negotiation; what employers are required to do is apply the cumulative ratios when determining the minimum investment levels each year. The cumulative build up in the level of investment over the four-year period reflects previous investment levels (prior to 2018) as awards were paid on a consolidated and pensionable basis until retirement (a Level 1 on the pre 2018 arrangements was equivalent to about £90k over the lifetime of their career as a consultant). Moving to non-consolidated and non-pensionable new style LCEAs releases significant funds, hence the significant build up over the period covered by the interim arrangements. 

    Q15. Should we have always been calculating the required investment based on FTE, not on headcount? 

    No, it has changed for this year’s arrangements (2021/22) and for LCEA arrangements from April 2022. 

    Q16. Will there be any reviews of Level 9 award holders this year? 

    As set out in Schedule 30 reviews of Level 9 award holders are to be postponed for this year, until after April 2022. Existing Level 9 LCEAs will continue to be subject to renewal arrangements and the same scoring mechanism as all other existing LCEAs, as set out in paragraph 18. 

    Q17. Can we offer a higher proportion of the award money to eligible consultants who have performed over and above what is expected of them in terms of their response to COVID-19? 

    Funds are to be distributed equally (see Q1). This particular arrangement is not intended to be an award for excellence, but simply a one-off non-consolidated lump sum that meets the commitment to spend the allocated investment funds in light of extraordinary circumstances.

    As there is no excellence or performance-based criteria to be met to access an award for this round, any evidence of individual excellence (related to COVID-19 or pre-COVID-19 activity) can be saved for when arrangements return to normal in the next round of competitive applications.

    Q18. We feel that all staff have contributed to an outstanding COVID-19 response. Can we share this funding with other staff, such as SAS doctors and nurses?

    This funding comes from NHS England’s ring-fenced consultants’ pay budget. Whilst we know there may be some local appetite for sharing awards to other staff who contribute to the delivery of services alongside consultants, it is not the intention of the arrangements.

    Q19. With this one-off payment, are the doctors then in receipt of a CEA award?

    Technically, the answer would be no. The intention is to equally distribute the available LCEA funds in a way which is not administratively burdensome on the trust or doctors at a time when resource is needed on the frontline. As there is no excellence or performance-based criteria to be met to access an award, the payment can’t really be considered as an award for clinical excellence. As such, any evidence of individual excellence can be saved back for when we return to normal in the next round of competitive applications.

    Q20. How much money is each eligible consultant entitled to?

    The size of the award ‘pot’ will differ in each trust. As per the LCEA guidance, the level of investment is calculated using an ‘award value’ and an ‘investment ratio’.

    The award value currently stands at £3,092 and the investment ratio at 0.218 per eligible consultant (the cumulative nature of the awards makes the total ratio this year 1.242).

Additional points to note

The funding for reversions from existing national clinical excellence awards to existing LCEAs will be funded from outside the minimum investment requirements for the 2018 award round only. For subsequent years the funding for such reversions will be covered by the minimum investment funds.