Value for Investment Resources
Practical guidance, theory, examples, blogs, social media links, and other resources.
Value for Investment (VfI) is a system to help you align evaluative thinking, methods and tools to answer questions about good resource use.
The VfI approach is built on four key principles:
- Inter-disciplinary (combining economic and evaluative thinking)
- Mixed methods (combining quantitative and qualitative evidence)
- Evaluative reasoning (interpreting evidence through the lens of explicit criteria)
- Participatory (engaging stakeholders in co-designing the evaluation and making sense of the evidence).
The system includes a stepped approach, making it intuitive to learn and practical to use. Click here for a worked example.
Diagram also available in Portuguese – click here.
The following resources are open access. Please use and share. Start with the practical guidance.
King, J. & OPM (2018). OPM’s approach to assessing value for money – a guide. Oxford Policy Management Ltd.
King, J., Crocket, A., Field, A. (2023). Value for Investment: Application and Insights. Youth Primary Mental Health and Addictions Evaluation. Exemplar report for Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. Dovetail Consulting Ltd.
Follow Julian on Substack for weekly posts on Evaluation and Value for Investment.
King, J. (2023). How should Program Evaluation Standards inform the use of cost-benefit analysis in evaluation? Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation. Vol. 19, No. 43.
King, J. (2021). Expanding theory-based evaluation: incorporating value creation in a theory of change. Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 89, December 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2021.101963.
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 Evaluatively. American Journal of Evaluation, 38(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 evaluation. Journal 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.
Field, A., Crocket, A., Garden, E., King, J., Moss, M., Parslow, G., Schiff, A., Spee, K., Wehipeihana, N. (2023). Youth Primary Mental Health and Addictions Evaluation. Final Report for Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. Dovetail Consulting Limited, Auckland.
King, J., Arau, A., Schiff, A., Garcia Aisa, M., McKegg, K. (2022). Social and Economic Impact Assessment of the RCA Programme: Non-Destructive Testing Case Study. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
King, J., Arau, A., Schiff, A., Garcia Aisa, M., McKegg, K. (2022). Social and Economic Impact Assessment of the RCA Programme: Radiotherapy Case Study. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
Hansford, F., Namukasa, E., Wate, D., Hurrell, A., King, J., Ward, P. (2022). Independent Evaluation of the African Risk Capacity (VfM section). Oxford Policy Management. Full suite of reports here.
Namukasa, E., King, J., Balagamwala, M. (2021). Evaluation of the Supporting Nutrition in Pakistan Food Fortification Programme (VfM section). Oxford Policy Management.
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.
Evaluation and Value for Investment on Substack
LinkedIn posts on Disrupting VFM assessment:
LinkedIn posts on Using economic methods evaluatively:
- Evaluation & economics – why not both?
- Outcome efficiency indicators
- Thinking rationally about cost-benefit analysis
- Am I for or against CBA?
- Thinking evaluatively with rubber numbers
- Break-even analysis with a rubric
- Break-even analysis: the trouser test
- Using CBA to look at equity
- Subjective wellbeing in CBA
- Multi-criteria analysis vs. rubrics
- Social return on investment vs. social cost-benefit analysis
LinkedIn posts on Upgrading the 5Es:
- Intro – upgrading the 5Es
- Economy – stewardship of resources
- Quadruple-loop Efficiency
- Effectiveness – understand the story behind the numbers
- Cost-effectiveness – more than ‘just’ ROI
- Equity-forward VfM
- The 5Es – buying a bike
- Conclusion – 5Es don’t define VFM
VfM: some recommendations (with OPM)
Value for money approach for the FSD network (with Kevin Munjal)
Exploring VfM (with Sara Vaca)
A cheat sheet for efficiency (with Sara Vaca)
Outcome efficiency indicators (with Sara Vaca)
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.