OPM's approach to assessing value for money

A clear and well-informed guide to evaluating value for money which addresses important issues including the limitations of using indicators epsecially for complex interventions, and the need to address unintended impacts and complicated causal contribution.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Patricia Rogers.

Authors and their affiliation

Julian King, Julian King & Associates

OPM VfM Working Group, Oxford Policy Management

Key features

The guide sets out an 8 step process for evaluating value for money: developing a theory of change; identifying Value for Money criteria; agreeing on standards of performance (rubrics); identifying the evidence needed; gathering evidence; analysing evidence; syntheisis and judgement; and reporting.

It draws on a number of existing evaluation methods and approaches, especially the use of contribution analysis to answer causal questions and rubrics to answer evaluative questions.

It identifies and addresses different types of value for money evaluation - economy, efficinecy, cost-effeciveness, and equity - and different types of efficiency.  In particular it discusses ways to avoid erroneous conclusions about efficiency that arise from ignoring equity or sustainability issues.


How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I intended to recommend this resource to organisations I work with and draw on it if designing a value for money resource.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

The guidance avoids common mistakes in value for money evaluation such as basing judgements of success on single indicators (which might not reflect overall performance) or average results (which ignore equity issues) and provides practical ways to produce more transparent and valid judgements of vlue for money.  it has been practically implemented in a number of evaluations so it is not just a theoretical suggestion for practice.


King and OPM (2018). The OPM approach to assessing value for money: A guide. Oxford: Oxford Policy Management Ltd. Retrieved from: https://www.opml.co.uk/publications/assessing-value-for-money

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