Value for Money…

VfM: An important question that can be tricky to answer. Some say VfM assessment is too donor/funder-centric and neglects important perspectives like communities who are supposed to benefit from an intervention. Some say it’s too accountability-focused and misses opportunities to inform learning and improvement. Some say it’s too simplistic and ignores the complexities of real-world programs. Some say it leaves them feeling short-changed because it doesn’t capture the full value of their investment.

I say we can address all of these problems - and we must, because VfM is critically important to making good decisions with limited resources. I’m on a mission to disrupt VfM assessment, to make it more valid, more credible, more value-focused and, ultimately, more useful.

In this newsletter I’ll share my perspectives on how we can all do better VfM assessments. I’ll share practical tips and lessons learnt in real-world evaluations, and theoretical foundations of good VfM assessment from doctoral research. I hope you’ll find this fun, that you'll be introduced to new ideas, and that you’ll feel motivated and empowered to use these ideas in your work.

You can find an overview and thematic directory of key posts here.

Who am I?

Kia ora! I’m Julian King, a public policy consultant. I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I specialise in evaluation and value for money. I’m a member of the Kinnect Group, an Associate of Oxford Policy Management, an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Program Evaluation, University of Melbourne and a University Fellow at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

My PhD research developed the Value for Investment system, an inter-disciplinary approach to answering VfM questions that combines thinking from evaluation and economics. I provide independent advice, training, on-the-job mentoring, guidance and peer review to help people use this system to design and do good evaluations. My happy places include cycling, skiing, swimming with tropical fish, and anything else that gets me out in nature.

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Disrupting value for money assessment


Julian King

I help people use evidence and explicit values to make good decisions.