VSO and Value for Money

VSO’s Experience so far on Value
for Money
Sara Cottingham, Deputy Policy
BOND 3rd February 2011
Why Value for Money?
Overall Framework for VfM
• Development Outcomes for poor and
marginalised women and men - quantifying
quality, estimating direct ‘beneficiaries’
• Investment for Results – processes for
decision making e.g. participatory programme
reviews, quality framework, portfolio review
• Efficiency – fiduciary risk in operational
practices (e.g. procurement), % overheads
Quantifying Quality - Advocacy
success scale for use with partners
1. Identifying the issue 2. Research conducted
3. Strategy developed 4. Issue in public domain
5. Policy makers agree need to address issue
6. Policy change/blocks to effective
implementation removed 7. Policy change
Implemented 8. M&E - is it positively impacting
on primary stakeholders (beneficiaries)
VfM Analysis: approaches tried so far
1. Social Return on Investment – 2 studies by
New Economics Foundation
What worked well – shared values, beneficiary
and stakeholder participation, attribution
Challenges - partners cannot be forced to
implement, 44 countries, 1,700 partners too
complex for SROI, valuable for long term
2. Case study approach
Rwanda Disability Programme
• In 2009/10 - 17 international volunteers and programme spend of £121,803
contributed to:
11 National Disabled People’s Organisations to improve their capacity to :
Represent disabled people in rural areas and of disabled women,
Having a good governance, leadership and transparency,
Providee improved services to their members
A Disability Programme has been developed and disabled people have been
recognised as one of the 4 priority groups in the Social Protection Strategy,
DIRECT REACH: (disabled people members of the 11 DPOs) - 35,950
• Disabled People reached through policy change - 617,002
Ethiopia Education programme
In 2009/10 - 120 International Volunteers and programme spend of £294,448 contributed to:
7 Regional Education Bureaus improved capacity to deliver in-service teacher
training programmes resulting in:
- improved classroom learning-teaching
- school environment conducive to learning and involving the community in their
School Improvement Programmes
- Building of segregated latrines
33 Colleges of Teacher Education improved capacity to roll out Continuous
Professional Development in schools
- 1871 primary school teachers (356 females) trained and improved skills and
62,530 students (30,795 females) registered in their schools directly benefiting
- Primary schools demonstrate more participatory teaching methods
- Teachers solve classroom management-related issues and needs of students
- Improved IT capacity
DIRECT REACH: 3,721 schools, 49,277 teachers, 2,021,855 children (981,664 girls)
and 104,802 teacher trainees
Case studies
• What worked well – clear, easy to
communicate, data base formed
• Challenges – no cost comparators (as yet),
how to factor in scale
3. How does VSO work through the
Value Chain?
Economy: Costs into Inputs
e.g. “costs of recruiting and training a long-term volunteer and
supporting them overseas are around £7,500 per year, this
compares favourably with the average costs of a consultant at
£10,000 per month (based on £500/day) as well as with the average
costs of an international aid worker whose salary would be £2,500
per month (conservatively based on £30,000pa). For this sum (with
a local wage often provided by the partner organisation), partners
have access to long term technical expertise, training, mentoring,
and other support as required.” (PPA evaluation).The 2010 external
evaluation of the human resources element of the Malawi health
sector programme (SWAP) found VSO volunteers to be cost
effective when compared to other volunteers in similar roles
Efficiency: Inputs into Outputs
• VSO evaluates its outputs against its progress
towards partner and programme and
corporate objectives corresponding to its
Theory of Change: Individuals empowered ,
civil society strengthened, basic services are
better quality and more inclusive, pro poor
policies progressed
3. Effectiveness: Outputs into
Where Outcomes are defined as changes for poor
women and men – the ultimate beneficiaries
VSO claims a contribution towards outcomes but
Does not claim attribution nor does it want to!
Direct beneficiaries reached participate through
focus groups and nos. are estimated by partners .
Starting to link the Value Chain
What could go well - potential of Value Chain for
analysis of approaches to development, to involve
both volunteers and partners, and to be realistic, to
be used at different levels
Challenges – Needs more research and thinking to
complete and systematise at national (back to
case studies) and thematic levels
• Difficult to compare operational costs across
• Attribution for a capacity building agency
• Numbers trump quality
• No unit costs as yet
• Multiple not single interventions by VSO
• No comparators, and are they desirable?
• Too many definitions of terms
Thank you