Value for Money Seminar February 2015

Approximately fifty attendees from fifteen institutions joined us recently to discuss approaches to value for money.

There is no doubt that there is increased focus on VFM and some would say rightly so –with students paying considerable sums for their academic studies it seems only right that institutions should be demonstrating their VFM objectives and achievements. However, demonstrating VFM remains tricky and as our speakers explored, there are two distinct schools of thought. One viewpoint eschews measurement and sees VFM as inherent in good management and embedded in culture - no one talks of value for money in the private sector, it's just part of the daily routine of doing business. Alongside this, though, there is a recognition of the reality that central government speaks the language of efficiency and expects to be able to measure and demonstrate efficiency gains - something which is important for the sector to demonstrate as a new government reviews spending priorities.

Feedback from attendees:

Excellent idea and well run. The mix of attendees and presenters was very good and was helpful in understanding wider issues, and alternative perspectives on the topic of VFM.

Event was excellent. Most informative and enjoyable. Well done. I thought the less formal and more interactive approach meant everyone learned more. Administrative aspects were excellent too. (Thanks Angela).

If you would like to know more about this or future events, please get in touch.

The session was aimed at governors (and particularly members of Audit Committees) to assist with their responsibility in assuring themselves that their institutions are VFM conscious and there are effective processes in place to support the VFM opinion in the Audit Committees annual report to the governing body. It is also aimed at senior staff within institutions with a responsibility for assessing and reporting on VFM –be it as a response to HEFCE requests or as part of their role.

The presentations and discussions included:

  • Andrew McConnell –Director of Finance, University of Huddersfield will outline the development and approach that the University of Huddersfield have taken in reporting on VFM.
  • Graham Dawber – Chair of Audit Committee, Manchester Metropolitan University will provide his thoughts from a governor perspective.
  • Nolan Smith – Head of Finance and Investment, HEFCE will outline HEFCE’s expectations with regard to VFM reporting and potential developments. He will also provide an update on the consultant’s report into the VFM reports received by HEFCE from institutions.