Value for Money (VfM) indicators are measures that show whether the programme has been able to deliver VfM. They can often overlap with standard monitoring and evaluation indicators given the multi-dimensionality of the VfM concept but usually also entail some aspects which are specific to the VfM concept.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are asked to design a series of Value for Money indicators or to report on them and you suddenly had no idea how to go about it? Or maybe you had some ideas but you were not really sure if these were Value for Money indicators or not?
Relax, this is a quite frequent situation, especially when we haven’t thought about VfM from the start which causes us to feel overwhelmed by what may be perceived as a new and additional requirement.
Contextualising the indicators
Before going into the indicators, it is important to underline that VfM stops being a tedious requirement and becomes a useful learning friend the moment you start addressing it from the beginning of the programme. This means asking yourself what VfM may look like in this programme, what information you are trying to know, whose perspective you are going to be taking into account and what approach you may want to use.
From VfM Frameworks to VfM indicators
All these aspects together with a set of possible Value for Money indicators make your VfM Framework: your starting point in your Value for Money journey where you clarify and explicitly specify all matters VfM. As part of your VfM Framework you may decide to design some Value for Money indicators, which are some measures, pointers or benchmarks that “indicate”, i.e. show you, whether you have been able to deliver VfM.
As opposed to the log frame indicators, the VfM ones are designed to give a snapshot of whether the programme has been able to maximise the change it has achieved in relation to the costs incurred. So some logframe indicators may be helpful to track the value side of the concept but some additional ones may be needed to have a more complete overall picture of the VfM performance.
Types of VfM indicators
Value for Money indicators can be both quantitative (some of which monetary) and qualitative and are expected to show how the programme is addressing each component of the VfM Framework or, if using the 4Es Framework, how the programme is addressing each E (Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity). This ODI publication provides some useful insights on possible 4Es indicators that may be used in adaptive programmes.
Finally, it is worth highlighting that Value for Money indicators are just one of many tools that can be used to assess your VfM. You may also choose to use standards, rubrics or criteria which also work well particularly in very complex programmes where it may be hard to find indicators that are applicable to the different areas of work taking place.
- differ from standard indicators as they intend to measure the extent to which a programme has been able to deliver VfM
- are linked to the understanding of VfM within a programme, more than just the results of the programme itself
- can be embedded successfully in Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks