Value for money

The term ‘value for money’ (VfM) is ‘generally used to describe an explicit commitment to ensuring the best results possible are obtained from the money spent. For the UK Government, the use of this term reflects a concern for more transparency and accountability in public spending, and for obtaining the maximum benefit from the resources available’ (ITAD, 2010, p. 4).

Challenges

Approaches to VfM often include quantitative techniques, such as cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis, which can be useful when comparing the VfM of different interventions that share the same output, outcome or impact, and where benefits arising from interventions are quantifiably measurable. However, this is often difficult in security and justice programming because these conditions are not present (SAS, 2013c).

Approaches

Qualitative techniques may be more applicable to security and justice programming, where there may be multiple and non-quantifiable goals. Moreover, the attribution of stated outcomes to particular interventions can be difficult in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. As such, even when quantitative methods are applicable, qualitative methods are necessary to explain why security and justice interventions are VfM (SAS, 2013c).

Tools and guidance

Guidance on quantitative and qualitative approaches to VfM, and how these are entered into the business case format:

  • Value for Money: In the Business Case (see SAS, 2013c)
  • Measuring the Impact and Value for Money of Governance and Conflict Programmes (see ITAD, 2010)

Measuring and managing for results, and assessing VfM in fragile and conflict-affected contexts:

  • DFID How to Note: Results in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States and Situations (see DFID, 2012d)

Information on the UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s approach to VfM:

  • ICAI’s Approach to Effectiveness and Value for Money (see ICAI, 2011)

Guidance on appraising the VfM of in-country survey research projects:

  • Tools for measurement, monitoring and evaluation: In-depth focus on surveys (see SAS, 2012)
  • DFID. (2012d). Results in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States and Situations. DFID How to note. London: DFID.
    See document online
  • ICAI. (2011). ICAI’s Approach to Effectiveness and Value for Money. London: Independent Commission for Aid Impact.
    See document online
  • ITAD. (2010). Measuring the Impact and Value for Money of Governance and Conflict Programmes. Hove: ITAD.
    See document online
  • SAS. (2012). Tools for measurement, monitoring and evaluation: In-depth focus on surveys. London: DFID / Small Arms Survey.
    See document online
  • SAS. (2013c). Value for Money: In the Business Case. London: DFID / Small Arms Survey.
    See document online