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The Value in Public Finance peer learning group provides a platform for those in government, academia, private and other sectors to discuss and explore ways to improve value creation of public expenditure. This peer learning group aims to create a community of individuals and organisations interested in improving public finance and how economies perform. We are an inclusive group of thinkers and practitioners and would welcome international engagement on the above themes as well as any others.

The group meets quarterly and is co-organised by the GO Lab and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). The sessions are co-chaired by Jeffrey Matsu and Dr Mehdi Shiva and moderated by Matheus Assunção. Please fill in the form in the link below to sign up to our peer learning group.

Previous meetings

Building up upon our previous discussion on Measurement and Economic Validity, this session discussed the practical applications of VfM assessment. The primary objective was to follow up on the GO Lab-CIPFA VfM toolkit by hearing from practitioners in local government who have used it, and others who have attempted similar types of analysis. The session presented case studies on the toolkit’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a broader discussion on ways that such resources can be made more accessible. Data availability and ease of use are two constraints often cited. The session was structured around two case studies followed by comments on improvements and extensions and a Q&A session.

Can blockchain technologies help improve the ways in which we work together towards better social and environmental outcomes? We explored its potential and challenges with experts to discuss what it might mean for partnerships and outcomes-based approaches.

In the fourth meeting, we explored innovative and blended financing mechanisms for greener outcomes.

Our third meeting focused on innovative pricing methods in the areas of healthcare, social policy and climate change. The idea here was to consider the multiple dimensions of ‘value’ and how these can be translated into market-friendly pricing frameworks that can be brought to scale.

Our second meeting took place on Wednesday 19th January 2022 from 2 pm to 3 pm (GMT) via Zoom.

The PLG’s second meeting explored the theme of measurement and economic validity. What are we measuring, how is it defined and when should organisations go about collecting the necessary data? Crucially, we discussed the importance of developing an analytical framework that encompasses the design, monitoring and evaluation of policy throughout its life cycle. This holistic approach was considered both an imperative and challenge to the execution of good policy – and the durability of its outcomes.

Our first meeting took place Thursday 18th November 2021 from 11am to noon (GMT) via Zoom.

This meeting focused on the key themes in value in public finance and agenda setting. We introduced the goals and themes surrounding value creation in public expenditure and invited participants to actively help us shape the structure and forward agenda. 

The sessions are formed around the themes of:

Measurement and economic validity

There are growing public demand to demonstrate the ‘value’ of public expenditure. The tendency is to rely on cost- or price-based approaches in measuring the effect of public programmes. More recently, there has been growing awareness calling for broader measures of value to society – what is known as social- or public-value – utilising new metrics alongside traditional ones in making decisions. This affects economic and financial analyses such as value for money and favours forward-looking approaches such as value- or outcome-based approaches.

Sourcing strategies and effective public-private partnerships

The UK’s recently published ‘Sourcing Playbook’ means that procurement decisions are, in theory, subject to scrutiny, ensuring that officials are accountable for the way they spend public money. Covid-19 has demonstrated  systemic shortcomings in public service provision across the globe. Meanwhile, cross-sector partnerships between public, private, and the third sector could help societies solve critical problems, while spurring growth, employment and ultimately resulting in positive spill-overs across many sectors. Crucially, sourcing decisions should be made on a case-to-case basis, using past experiences to help inform deliverability, affordability and value for money.

Innovative and blended public financing

Good governance and regulation, facilitated by standard measurement methods for value and effective public-private partnerships, could benefit from private resources in creating value for the public. This would allow governments to co-create markets by involving private investors (especially those interested in social impact) in activities which yield the highest positive return to society.

Efficiency-equity duo, or trade-off

A traditional view in economics has been that greater social equity and national efficiency (i.e., growth and productivity) cannot be achieved simultaneously due to a policy ‘trade-off’ between the two. Such thinking has contributed to a surge in spatial and social inequalities across the world including the divide between ‘superstar cities’ and ‘left-behind places’. Such disparities were most recently observed in the human cost of the pandemic as well as the staging of vaccination roll-outs.