Value for money and adaptive programming - Approaches, measures and management - Laws and Valters (2021)


This paper looks at how to align value for money (VfM) with adaptive programming. It charts the experience of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in integrating adaptive management as a way of working more effectively on complex problems as well as around increasing concerns with VfM in aid spending. It notes that there are tensions between VfM and adaptive management agendas. 

The paper found that the emphasis in DFID on controlling costs and holding implementers accountable for efficient delivery may be suitable for more straightforward projects. But it can be problematic when used as a guide to VfM in complex situations, where teams need to test and learn to determine which combination of inputs and outputs produces the best results for the investment. This paper found that if VfM analysis and measurement is to continue to be a key part of how aid programmes are managed and assessed, it should be done well, and in a way that takes account of complexity. If it cannot be done well, it should be avoided or minimised.