CIPFA - Value for Money Toolkit

Value For Money Toolkit

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The Value for Money Toolkit

With unprecedented budget cuts across the sector, it’s more important than ever that you understand where efficiencies can be made in your authority, to free up much-needed funds. And that’s exactly what our Value for Money (VfM) Toolkit can help you do. 

Our latest version of the VfM Toolkit contains a completely redesgined interface. The tool also contains numerous additional features, including: 

  • A thoroughly updated interface to improve ease of use and understanding of the results. 
  • A new summary reporting tool.
  • Additional graphical outputs. 
  • Easier analysis of historical trends. 

Click here to access the latest version of the toolkit.

What is it?

An easy-to-use, visual tool, the VfM Toolkit allows you to track the costs and performance of your services and compare them to your peers. And importantly, it gives you access to data early enough to be useful in planning budgets and identifying efficiency savings for the coming year.

Originally developed by Somerset County Council on behalf of the Society of County Treasurers and funded in 2010 by the Local Government Group, the VfM Toolkit has now been expanded by CIPFA to include district and unitary functions as well as improved functionality and usability.

How does it work?

If you’ve found it difficult to interpret statistical information in the past, you’ll find the VfM Toolkit a breath of fresh air. Key performance indicators for your council, compared with other similar authorities, are displayed on a simple graph. The services offering good value for money are grouped in the top left, moving down to the bottom right for those doing less well. You can then drill down into the detailed statistics to help you understand the performance of your services and identify best performing neighbours.

Why do you need it?

  • An easy to use visual tool, it offers you the best chance of providing a comprehensive view of your services to track costs and performance and compare them to your peers.
  • Resources are diminishing, but the public do not want to see services cut. The VfM Toolkit will help you to identify areas where efficiency might be improved.
  • The Localism Bill includes a communities right to challenge, this allows organisations to express an interest in delivering a service that the local authority currently provides, the toolkit will help authorities to evidence value for money

Summary of features

The VfM Toolkit is sector-owned and will continue to develop to meet sector needs.

  • Three release points during the year to ensure that the data and information is continually refreshed and up-to-date
  • An option to choose actual or estimated financial data
  • Collect data directly from Government Departments
  • Review performance measures to ensure they are relevant
  • Either set your own comparator group or use the predetermined groups
  • Turn on deprivation factors
  • Feedback through a consultation to help us shape the service and ensure that the data and information we include continues to meet your needs


'I recently commissioned CIPFA to demonstrate the VfM toolkit to all senior staff at the Borough to help embed a culture of efficiency, effectiveness and economy and to challenge existing approaches. The VfM toolkit has helped us to ask some difficult questions, consider unit costs, undertake useful comparisons, gain an understanding of best practice used elsewhere, consider local circumstances when making decisions and suggest ways of improving the toolkit. Developing and using effective benchmarking and knowledge across the council means that staff have no excuse for accepting complacency, therefore, I would strongly challenge officers to make effective use of such information to inform decision making, identify and address potential failure and deliver Value for Money for our citizens... my motto is 'If it’s a problem.. we deal with it'.'

Philip Simpkins, Chief Executive, Bedford Borough Council

'at Somerset County Council we have used the VfM toolkit for a number of years and it provides an excellent way in which to benchmark performance. The tools flexibility means you are able to make the information truly relevant to local circumstances. The information from the toolkit is presented in a way that is easy to understand making it easy to understand and use.

In these tough financial times the VfM toolkit provides a great source of information in identifying areas where we may be able to work more efficiently'

Tony Johnson, Corporate Performance Manager, Somerset County Council



'The toolkit has been a valuable resource in managing the council's financial performance. It has enabled us to focus on where we can reduce costs whilst seeking to maintain high performance.”

Mark Gayler, Principal Accountant Finance Strategy Group, Devon County Council

'The CIPFA VfM Toolkit is a useful tool designed with the involvement of Local Authorities. It enables meaningful comparisons to be made to both aid and evidence the decision making process for the delivery of Value for Money'

George Spiteri - Value For Money and Performance, Lincolnshire County Council

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