VfM Audit and the UK Public Sector: A Critical Review of the VfM Reports

Financial Accountability and Management, 2022

Posted: 1 Jul 2022

See all articles by Abdelhafid Benamraoui

Abdelhafid Benamraoui

University of Westminster

Eleni Chatzivgeri

University of Edinburgh Business School

Surendranath Rakesh Jory

University of Southampton - Southampton Business School

Ranjitha Ajay

Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai

Date Written: June 9, 2022

Abstract

The study investigates why value for money (VfM) audit, in its current form, fails to capture the actual state-of-affairs in the UK public organisations. To address this, we utilize a VfM assessment matrix and key public sector performance indicators to critically evaluate the VfM reports published by two main public bodies in the U.K., i.e., the National Health Services (NHS) and the police authorities, alongside the reports published by the National Audit Office (NAO) and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). Our results reveal that the VfM reports do not clearly show how the 3Es (i.e., economy, efficiency and effectiveness) associated with the VfM assessment are attained. There are also limited suggestions on the public bodies’ service output or social outcomes and how performance targets are fulfilled. We deduce that the VfM audit's failure to capture these elements significantly curtails the benefits of the VfM exercise to public bodies. We argue for complementing the current VfM assessment with a review of the performance of these bodies based on the services they offer as well as their strategic objectives.

Keywords: Public sector, police authorities, NHS, VfM audit, VfM reports

JEL Classification: M42; M48

Suggested Citation

Benamraoui, Abdelhafid and Chatzivgeri, Eleni and Jory, Surendranath Rakesh and Ajay, Ranjitha, VfM Audit and the UK Public Sector: A Critical Review of the VfM Reports (June 9, 2022). Financial Accountability and Management, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4132584

Abdelhafid Benamraoui (Contact Author)

University of Westminster ( email )

309 Regent Street
London, W1R 8AL
United Kingdom

Eleni Chatzivgeri

University of Edinburgh Business School ( email )

Surendranath Rakesh Jory

University of Southampton - Southampton Business School ( email )

Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Ranjitha Ajay

Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai ( email )

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