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CIPFA launches ‘value for money’ toolkit

The toolkit is based on the UK National Audit Office’s standard definition of value for money

CIPFA has announced the launch of a new value for money (VfM) toolkit following a partnership with the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) from the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

The toolkit is based on the UK National Audit Office’s standard definition of value for money, and offers a “consistent approach” to programme evaluation. According to CIPFA, it has been developed in response to recent trends towards the use of outcomes-based contracts (OBCs) and impact bonds.

In addition, it reportedly provides public managers with a framework to help assess the economic validity of public programmes, while also serving as a self-assessment instrument. The toolkit promotes thinking about the longer-term effects of interventions, such as outcomes and impacts, during the design and planning stage of public sector programmes.

Jeffrey Matsu, chief economist at CIPFA, said: “The pandemic has intensified budgetary pressures on public bodies, and this toolkit is part of our wider commitment to support the public sector in a practical, equitable and outcomes-centred way. We’ve also worked to design additional resources and guidance to make using the toolkit that much easier for users.”

Dr. Mehdi Shiva, economist at GO Lab, added: “How states build back their economies post-COVID, and how they plan to cover the huge costs involved are key discussions that will shape our societies and economies over the decades to come and beyond. 

“Here we have an opportunity to rethink how value is created and distributed, how to reconcile and successfully pursue productivity and socio-spatial inclusion. This toolkit is designed for learning and practice, especially around outcome-orientation, effective partnerships and innovation in public finance.”

A ‘Value in Public Finance’ peer learning group, co-organised by GO Lab and CIPFA, has also been created to discuss and explore ways to improve value creation of public expenditure. 

The group will meet quarterly with participation open to individuals and organisations interested in improving public finance and how economies perform.

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