Value for Investment Resources

Scroll down for practical guidance, social media links, theory, examples, blogs, and other resources.

Value for Investment is a system for aligning existing evaluation methods to answer value for money questions. Our vision is that Value for Investment becomes the usual practice for any VfM assessment.

In short: Start by defining clear VfM questions and articulating the value proposition of the investment. Then define criteria (aspects of good resource use) and standards (levels of good resource use) tailored to the context. After that, determine what evidence is needed and will be credible to address the criteria and standards, select an appropriate mix of methods, gather and analyse the evidence. Then, use the agreed lens of the criteria and standards to interpret the evidence and evaluate whether the investment represents good use of resources. Now you can provide clear answers to VfM questions and back up the answers with evidence and reasoning.

The following resources are open access. Please use and share. Start with the practical guidance. OPM’s approach to assessing value for money is a practical guide, designed for international development programs. It follows the principles of the Value for Investment system, which are applicable to any setting.

Practical guidance:

King, J. & OPM (2018). OPM’s approach to assessing value for money – a guide. Oxford: Oxford Policy Management Ltd.

Social media:

Disrupting VFM assessment:

Upgrading the 5Es:

Using economic methods evaluatively:

YouTube channel


King, J. (2021). Expanding theory-based evaluation: incorporating value creation in a theory of change. Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 89, December 2021.

King, J. (2019). Evaluation and Value for Money: Development of an approach using explicit evaluative reasoning. (Doctoral dissertation). Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne.

King, J. (2017). Using Economic Methods EvaluativelyAmerican Journal of Evaluation38(1), 101–113. 

King, J. (2015). Use of cost-benefit analysis in evaluation. Letter to the editor. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 15(3), 37-41.

King, J., McKegg, K., Oakden, J., Wehipeihana, N. (2013). Rubrics: A method for surfacing values and improving the credibility of evaluationJournal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 9(21), 11-20.

King, J. (2016). Value for Investment: A practical evaluation theory. (e-book based on a presentation at the 2015 American Evaluation Association Conference, Chicago). Auckland: Julian King & Associates Ltd.


King, J., McKegg, K., Arau, A., Schiff, A., Garcia Aisa, M. (2020). Social and Economic Impact Assessment of Mutation Breeding in Crops of the RCA Programme in Asia and the Pacific. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.

King, J. (2020). Evaluation and value for money – a practical approach. Australasian Aid Conference, Canberra.

King, J. (2020). Evaluation and value for money. Guest lecture for University of Auckland, Population Health 705 Evaluation Research Methods, presented remotely during COVID-19 lockdown. Annotated slides and video.

King, J. (2019). Combining multiple approaches to valuing in the MUVA female economic empowerment program. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 19(4), 217-225.

Hansford, F., Akkurt, O., King, J., Vanzetti, D., Rasulova, S., Namukasa, E. (2019). Independent Evaluation of TradeMark East Africa Deliverable 6D: Strategy 1 Value for Money Assessment. Oxford Policy Management.

FSD Africa. (2018). VfM Framework. Prepared for FSDA by Oxford Policy Management Ltd and Julian King & Associates Ltd. 

FSD Africa. (2018). VfM Design, Analysis and Reporting: A Practical Guide. Prepared for FSDA by Oxford Policy Management Ltd and Julian King & Associates Ltd. 

King, J., Allan, S. (2018). Applying Evaluative Thinking to Value for Money: The Pakistan Sub-National Governance Programme. Evaluation Matters—He Take Tō Te Aromatawai, 4, pp. 207-235.

King, J., Guimaraes, L. (2016). Evaluating Value for Money in International Development: The Ligada Female Economic Empowerment Program. eVALUation Matters, Third Quarter, 2016, pp. 58-69. Africa Development Bank.

King, J. (2019). Evaluation and Value for Money. Presentation at Australian Evaluation Society Conference, Sydney, and American Evaluation Association Conference, Minneapolis.

King, J. (2019). Evaluation and Value for Money: Thinking beyond measurement. Presentation at Japan Evaluation Society Conference.

Kinnect group & Foundation North. (2016). Kia E Te Whakangao: Māori & Pacific Education Initiative Value for investment evaluation report. Auckland: Foundation North.

Oakden, J., King, J. (2018). Evaluation, in M. Tolich & C. Davidson (Eds.). Social science research in New Zealand: An introduction (3rd ed; pp. 180-193). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.

OPM. (2018). In Depth: OPM’s approach to assessing value for money. Oxford: Oxford Policy Management Ltd.


Evaluating VFM in public services

What is Value for Money?

Economic methods of evaluation

5Es and VFM

VFM criteria

Rubrics and subjectivity

Scenario, sensitivity and break-even analysis

Break-even analysis and rubrics

Scaling ROI

CBA and the general logic of evaluation

Using CBA to look at equity

Theory of value creation

VFM: some recommendations (with OPM)

Value for money approach for the FSD network (with Kevin Munjal)

AEA365: Empowerment Evaluation and VFM

Exploring VFM (with Sara Vaca)

A cheat sheet for efficiency (with Sara Vaca)

Outcome efficiency indicators (with Sara Vaca)

Rocket espresso

Economic methods of evaluation – recommended reading:

HM Treasury. (2022). The Green Book: Central government guidance on appraisal and evaluation. Government of the United Kingdom. Open access guidance and resources.

Drummond, M. F., Sculpher, M. J., Torrance, G. W., O’Brien, B. J., & Stoddard, G. L. (2005). Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programs. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 

Levin, H.M., McEwan, P.J. (2001). Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage.