What is a Value for Money Strategy?
Learning and Change understands a Value for Money Strategy as a plan of action that a programme or organization takes to ensure it delivers VfM and improve the way it does so. It is usually time-bound and identifies the key steps it intends to take, usually over a three to five years period, often in line with an organizational strategy or a specific cycle of funding.
The key elements of a Value for Money Strategy build on an organizational or programmatic VfM Framework which sets how the structure underlying a programme or organization’s understanding of VfM. The VfM Strategy outlines the steps needed to address the key aspects outlined in a Framework. For instance, if your understanding of VfM includes ensuring that specific vulnerable groups are benefitting from your work, then a VfM Strategy will outline the action that is needed to ensure this happens, such as needs assessments, participatory programme design, systems to regularly review their perspectives on the programme, etc.
How does a Value for Money Strategy help?
A Value for Money Strategy helps a programme or organization to operationalise its VfM Framework. This means that a VfM Strategy helps to get different stakeholders and team members on the same page about what needs to happen to improve the way they are delivering VfM and address possible gaps or shortcomings that can help to further maximise impact while managing the resources in an optimal way.
What does a Value for Money Strategy include?
A VfM Strategy can be short or long-term or address both. It may outline the long-term vision about what it would like to see itself doing to deliver VfM and at the same time identify short-term steps or milestones that may help it get there.
A VfM Strategy normally takes the key components of the VfM Framework and unpacks how it aims to get there. For instance, if an organization or a programme use the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 4Es Framework (Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity), it may start by defining what these mean in the context of this particular programme or organization and then focus on each to define what actions it intends to take in the coming three-five years to address each E.
Maybe addressing Economy may involve planning benchmarking exercises that can help it review and establish its salary grades or consultancy fees it intends to pay to keep costs reasonable, without affecting the results it aims to achieve.
Or addressing Efficiency may involve reviewing the systems or procedures used for the monitoring of the financial delivery.
A VfM Strategy also outlines some practical elements, such as key roles and responsibilities in delivering the strategy, timeframes, actors involved, approach to be used for the review of the VfM Strategy, when needed.
How to develop a VfM Strategy?
Like with any product related to VfM, the suggestion is always to bring together complementing expertise. VfM is a complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted concept that entails many different aspects, such as organizational processes and systems, costs, results, target population, risk, sustainability ,etc.
Therefore, a VfM Strategy that serves its purpose will benefit from the contribution of relevant units within a programme/organization. However, in our experience, it is helpful to assign a unit or person to coordinate and lead its development, that can bring in other colleagues as appropriate.
We have also found it helpful to undertake a VfM Assessment before developing the VfM Strategy. This has given us the evidence to identify the key gaps and shortcomings and what steps may be needed to improve, for instance, the systems that an organisation has to guide its operational delivery or the sustainability that its work is fostering.
How can Learning and Change help you develop a VfM Strategy?
Learning and Change can support your programme or organization to develop your VfM Strategy in many different ways:
- We can provide advice on how to go about it, suggesting some steps and approaches you may use so that you can go ahead and develop it internally;
- We can provide on-the-job coaching. This means that you set a Task Force or core team that will be developing the Strategy and we act as Coordinators and guide and coach the team as the VfM Strategy is developed;
- We can deliver the VfM Strategy for you, with inputs from the team in specific key moments. When can also deliver a VfM Assessment that can feed into the VfM Strategy, if appropriate.
Learn more about our work on VfM here.
Learning and Change